Assessment of Heavy Metal and Pesticide Levels in Soil and Plant Products from Agricultural Area of Belgrade, Serbia
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This study was aimed to assess the levels of selected heavy metals and pesticides in soil and plant products from an agricultural area of Belgrade, Serbia and to indicate possible sources and risks of contamination. Soil, vegetable, and fruit samples from the most important agricultural city areas were collected from July to November of 2006. Metal contents were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry, whereas pesticide residues were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry after extraction performed using solid-phase microextraction technique. Soil characterization based on the determination of selected physical and chemical properties revealed heterogeneous soils belonging to different soil groups. The concentrations of lead, cadmium, copper, and zinc in soil samples do not exceed the limits established by national and international regulations. Residues of the herbicide atrazine were detected in three soil samples, with levels lower than the relevant limit. The presence... of other herbicides, namely prometryn, chloridazon, acetochlor, flurochloridone, and napropamide, was registered in some soil samples as well. Among the insecticides investigated in the soil, fenitrothion and chlorpyrifos were the only ones detected. In most of the investigated vegetable samples from the Obrenovac area, Pb and Cd contents are higher in comparison with the maximum levels, indicating the emission of coal combustion products from local thermal power plants as a possible source of contamination. Residue levels of some herbicides and insecticides (metribuzin, trifluralin, pendimethalin, bifenthrin, chlorpyrifos, and cypermethrin) determined in tomato, pepper, potato, and onion samples from Slanci, Ova, and Obrenovac areas are even several times higher than the maximum residue levels. Inappropriate use of these plant protection products is considered to be the most probable reason of contamination. Because increased levels of heavy metals and pesticide residues found in plant products could pose a risk to consumers health, their continual monitoring before product distribution to city markets is indispensable.
Source:Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 2010, 58, 2, 341-351
- Serbian Ministry of Science and Technological Development [TR-6890B, TR-20060, TR-20041], Secretariat for Environmental Protection of the City Assembly of Belgrade