Transfer of Pops Into Vegetation

Implications and Mechanisms
  • Gian Marco Currado
  • Stuart Harrad


The accumulation of POPs in vegetation has long been seen as a crucial process in determining the extent of human exposure to these compounds as plants are considered the major vector of POPs into terrestrial food chains. The influence of terrestrial plants as a vector of human exposure to POPs (see Chapter 5 for a more detailed treatment) is both direct — via consumption of contaminated plant produce -and indirect — via ingestion of meat, eggs and dairy produce obtained from animals fed on contaminated plants. With respect to the latter, agricultural plants are a key link in the air/soil-fodder-milk/beef food chain that is thought to account for a significant proportion of background exposure of the European and North American population to a variety of POPs including PCDD/Fs and PCBs. As a consequence of the important role played by vegetation in establishing human exposure to POPs, the study of the mechanisms involved in the uptake of these compounds into vegetation has attracted considerable attention in the last decade. The wealth of data generated has allowed for a better, albeit incomplete, understanding of the complex processes occurring at the air/soil-plant interface. Of the possible generic routes via which uptake into above-ground plant parts may occur — e.g. sorption through the root and translocation to above-ground parts, volatilisation from top soil and absorption into foliage and direct transfer from the atmosphere — it is widely accepted that, for the majority of POPs, the primary route of uptake into the majority of plants is via the atmosphere.


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Dietary Exposure Root Crop Root Uptake Equilibrium Partitioning 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gian Marco Currado
  • Stuart Harrad

There are no affiliations available

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