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Mercury accumulation and transformation of main leaf vegetable crops in Cambosol and Ferrosol soil in China

  • Bo Yang
  • Yi Gao
  • Chunxue Zhang
  • Xiangqun Zheng
  • Bo LiEmail author
Research Article
  • 35 Downloads

Abstract

Leaf vegetables serve as an important food for the local residents in China. This paper focuses on the uptake, accumulation, transfer, and mercury (Hg) sensitivity of leafy vegetables. Two types of soil (an alkaline Cambosol and an acid Ferrosol) and eleven species of leafy vegetable, namely, Spinach, Tung choy, Leek, Fennel, Coriander, Chinese flowering cabbage, Wuta-tsai, Pakchoi, Chicory, Crown daisy, and Lettuce, were selected to investigate their sensitivity to Hg accumulation in a greenhouse pot experiment. Three Hg concentration treatments were carried out as control (background values), low concentration (1.5 times standard value), and high concentration (2 times standard value) as adjusted by the soil pH. Hg concentrations of more than half vegetable samples grown in Cambosol (collected from Shandong Province) reached or exceeded the maximum permissible food safety levels (10 μg kg-1) according to the General Standard of Contaminants in Food in China (GB 2762-2012), while only about 15% in Ferrosol (collected from Jiangxi Province). Meanwhile, Hg bio-concentration factors (BCF) in all treatments were < 1, while Hg translocation factors (TF) in most treatments were < 1. Correlation analysis among soil, root, and edible plant parts revealed that the principal source of Hg in leafy vegetables was most likely from Hg-contaminated soils. Species sensitivity distribution (SSD) models were constructed and their simulated curves indicated that sensitivity to Hg was highest in Pakchoi in low Hg-contaminated soils, and Chicory in highly Hg-contaminated soils. Therefore, Hg concentration is mostly accumulated in roots of leafy crops, which reduces the risk of Hg bioaccumulation in edible portion of vegetables, and (2) Brassicaceae vegetables are mostly less sensitive to soil Hg contamination. Our results provide effective guidance for the selection of leafy vegetables for cultivation and daily consumption that minimizes health risk.

Keywords

Mercury sensitivity Leaf vegetable Transfer factors Bio-concentration factors Species sensitivity distribution 

Notes

Funding information

This work was supported by the project of Research on Migration/Transformation and Safety Threshold of Heavy Metals in Farmland Systems (2016YFD0800400), National Key Research and Development Program of China.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_6798_MOESM1_ESM.docx (32 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 32 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Agro-Environmental Protection InstituteMinistry of Agriculture and Rural AffairsTianjinChina
  2. 2.Chinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentSouth China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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