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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jun 30;12(7):7400-16. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120707400.

Toxicity and Bioaccumulation of Heavy Metals in Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) Grown in a Controlled Environment.

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Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Haripur, Haripur 21120, Pakistan.
Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Peshawar, Peshawar 25120, Pakistan.
Department of Earth Sciences, COMSATS Institution of Information Technology, Abbottabad 22060, Pakistan.
Prime Institute of Public Health, Peshawar 25120, Pakistan.
Department of Microbiology, University of Haripur, Haripur 21120, Pakistan.
Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, University of Haripur, Haripur 21120, KPK, Pakistan.
Centre for Climate Research and Development (CCRD), COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), Chak Shahzad, Islamabad 45550, Pakistan.
Civil Engineering Research Group, School of Computing, Science and Engineering, The University of Salford, Salford M5 4WT, UK.


The impact of heavy metal toxicity on the shoot and root lengths, total protein, fiber characteristics, moisture content and nutrient composition of spinach (Spinacia oleracea) was evaluated. Plants were grown in pots containing soil and treated with different concentrations (mg/kg) of lead (Pb; 300, 400 and 500), cadmium (Cd; 0.5, 1 and 1.5) and zinc (Zn; 250, 500, and 700) as well as mixtures of Cd and Pb (0.5/300, 1/400, 1.5/500), Cd and Zn (0.5/250, 1/500, 1.5/700), and Pb and Zn (300/250, 400/500, 500/700). Soil contaminated by long-term irrigation with wastewater containing heavy metals was simulated. An increase in concentrations of heavy metals both individually and as mixtures significantly (p < 0.05) reduced the growth parameters and nutrient contents of S. oleracea. The uptake patterns of heavy metals in mixtures showed antagonistic impacts on each other. The toxicities of the mixtures Cd and Pb, Cd and Zn as well as Pb and Zn were higher than those observed in separate heavy metal applications but less than their additive sums. The toxicity caused by individual heavy metals was the highest for Cd followed by Pb and Zn. The highest toxicity was observed in plants grown in soil contaminated by Cd and Pb.


bioaccumulation; cadmium; contamination; irrigation; lead; nutrient; spinach; toxicity; water resources management; zinc

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