Determination of Cd, Mn and Ni accumulated in fruits, vegetables and soil in the Thohoyandou town area, South Africa
The accumulation of heavy metals such as Cd, Mn and Ni was investigated in seven different vegetables, fruits and soil samples from Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province, South Africa. Heavy metals were quantified using graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry. Concentrations of heavy metals in fruits and vegetables were in the range of 0.23–2.94 mg∙kg–1 for Cd, 11.72–50.16 mg∙kg–1 for Mn and 5.73 – 44.11 mg∙kg–1 for Ni on a dry weight basis. Analysis of soils from where fruits and vegetables were sampled showed that Cd in the soil was in the range of 0.08–1.07 mg∙kg–1, Mn levels were 204.99–249.13 mg∙kg–1 and Ni levels were 48.47–88.23 mg∙kg–1. Cd was below the instrument detection limit for soils on which onions and bananas were grown. Vegetables showed different accumulation abilities, with leafy vegetables being the highest accumulators of heavy metals. The obtained results showed that concentrations of Cd in fruits, vegetables and soils exceeded the recommended maximum acceptable levels proposed by FAO/WHO and, hence, may pose a health risk to consumers. Ni concentrations in bananas, onion, beetroot, spinach and Chinese cabbage exceeded recommended standards by FAO/WHO.
Keywords: bioaccumulation factor food contamination fruits and vegetables heavy metals soil toxicity