Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 17, pp 16676–16685 | Cite as

Metal accumulation in Raphanus sativus and Brassica rapa: an assessment of potential health risk for inhabitants in Punjab, Pakistan

  • Kafeel Ahmad
  • Asma Ashfaq
  • Zafar Iqbal Khan
  • Humayun Bashir
  • Muhammad Sohail
  • Naunain Mehmood
  • Yunus Dogan
Research Article


Pakistan is an agricultural country and due to the shortage of clean water, most of the irrigated area (32,500 ha) of Pakistan was supplied with wastewater (0.876 × 109 m3/year). Concentrations of heavy metals in radish (Raphanus sativus) and turnip (Brassica rapa) taken from vegetable fields in Sargodha, Pakistan, were measured. Untreated wastewater was used persistently for a long time to irrigate these vegetable fields. A control site was selected that had a history of fresh groundwater irrigation. Mean metal concentrations were found for irrigation water, soil, and vegetables. In irrigation water, concentrations of Mo and Pb at three sites and Se at sites II and III were higher than the recommended limits. In vegetables, concentrations of Mo and Pb were above the maximum permissible limits. High bioconcentration factor was observed for Zn (12.61 in R. sativus and 11.72 in B. rapa) at site I and high pollution load index was found for Pb (3.89 in R. sativus and 3.87 in B. rapa) at site II. The differences in metal concentrations found in samples depended upon different soil nature and assimilation capacities of vegetables at different sites which in turn depended upon different environmental cues. The entrance of metal and metalloids to human body may happen through different pathways; however, the food chain is the chief route through which metals are transferred from vegetables to individuals. Health risk index observed for metals, (Mo, As, Ni, Cu, and Pb) higher than 1 indicated high risk through consumption of these vegetables at three sites.


Brassica rapa Contaminated agricultural lands Health risk index Heavy metals Pakistan Raphanus sativus 



The authors thank all the supporters of this project and the referees for their constructive comments.

Funding information

The Higher Education Commission, Pakistan is acknowledged for providing the financial support through a research project no. 2484/13 to the first and third authors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of SargodhaSargodhaPakistan
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of SargodhaSargodhaPakistan
  3. 3.Buca Faculty of EducationDokuz Eylul UniversityIzmirTurkey

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