1 Introduction</h5> In addition to their essentiality for plant growth and/or human nutrition, some micronutrient elements, for example copper (Cu), chromium (Cr), molybdenum (Mo), nickel (Ni), selenium (Se) and zinc (Zn), may be toxic to both animals and humans at high concentrations ( McLaughlin et al., 1999 ). Other trace elements, for example arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg) and lead (Pb), may also inadvertently enter the food chain and pose health risks to humans and animals. Therefore, the implications associated with metal contamination in food are of great concern, particularly in agricultural products such as rice and vegetables. Several studies have indicated that rice and vegetables, particularly leafy crops, grown in heavy metals contaminated soils have higher concentrations of heavy metals than those grown in uncontaminated soils ( Al-Saleh and Shinwari, 2001; Fu et al., 2008; Guttormsen et al., 1995; Sharma et al., 2007 ). A major pathway of soil contamination is through atmospheric deposition of heavy metals from point sources such as metaliferous mining, smelting and industrial activities. Other non-point sources of contamination affecting predominantly agricultural soils include inputs such as fertilisers, pesticides, sewage sludge, organic manures and composts ( Singh, 2001 ). Additionally, foliar uptake
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2014
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