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J Environ Qual. 2013 Jan-Feb;42(1):208-18. doi: 10.2134/jeq2012.0142.

Predicting perchlorate uptake in greenhouse lettuce from perchlorate, nitrate, and chloride irrigation water concentrations.


Perchlorate (ClO) has been detected in edible leafy vegetables irrigated with Colorado River water. The primary concern has been the ClO concentration in lettuce ( L. var. L.). There has been a limited number of studies on ClO uptake, but the interactive effect of other anions on ClO uptake is not known in detail. We conducted a greenhouse ClO uptake experiment using two types of lettuce (iceberg and butterhead) to investigate the interaction of uptake of ClO, Cl, and NO on ClO uptake under controlled conditions. We examined three concentrations of ClO, 40, 220, and 400 nmol/L; Cl at 2.5, 13.75, and 25 mmol/L; and NO at 2, 11, and 20 mmol/L. Perchlorate was taken up the most in lettuce when ClO was the greatest and NO and Cl were lowest in concentration in the irrigation water. More ClO was detected in leafy material than in root tissue. In general, the outer leaves of iceberg and butterhead lettuce contained more ClO than did the inner leaves. The results indicate that selective ClO uptake occurs for green leaf lettuce. A predictive model was developed to describe the ClO concentration in lettuce as related to the Cl, NO, and ClO concentration in the irrigation water. Research results can be utilized to elucidate the effect of salts on the accumulation and uptake of ClO by edible leafy vegetables.

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