Journal of
Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology

  • Abbreviation: J. Environ. Chem. Ecotoxicol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-226X
  • DOI: 10.5897/JECE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 197

Full Length Research Paper

Heavy metals accumulation and distribution pattern in different vegetable crops

S. Singh*, M. Zacharias, S. Kalpana and S. Mishra
Division of Environmental Sciences, Insian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi 110012, India.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 23 January 2012
  •  Published: 22 February 2012



Different vegetable crops grown on heavy metal contaminated soil showed marked difference in metal accumulation, uptake and distribution pattern. Crop species also showed remarkable difference in metal concentration of various plant parts. Based on metal accumulation in edible parts and whole plants, root vegetables namely radish and carrot registered lower accumulation of almost all heavy metals except zinc (Zn) in radish root. However, leafy vegetables namely spinach, amaranthus, mustard and fenugreek recorded higher accumulation of both essential and non-essential heavy metals, except cadmium (Cd) and nickel (Ni) which showed less accumulation in fenugreek. Potato and onion showed lower accumulation of zinc, copper and higher accumulation of cadmium and nickel. Cauliflower and cabbage, however, showed greater accumulation of lead and nickel but less accumulation of copper and cadmium. Among fruit type vegetables, pea, soybean and cluster bean showed greater accumulation of Pb and Ni and very less accumulation of Cd. Among different vegetables cauliflower and cabbage recorded highest uptake of Zn, Pb and Ni, while mustard showed higher uptake of Zn and Cd. In general the uptake of Cd was lowest in almost all the crops except mustard. Generally the root and leafy vegetables namely radish, carrot, spinach, amaranthus, mustard, cauliflower and cabbage showed higher distribution of metals to the edible parts, whereas fruit types vegetables specially tomato and Brinjal exhibited least transport of metals to fruits except leguminous fruit vegetables pea and soybean. Leafy vegetables namely spinach, amaranthus and mustard seemed to be unsafe and not suitable for cultivation on heavy metal contaminated soil. Most of the fruit type vegetables could be suggested for cultivation on Cd contained soil but not for Ni and Pb contained soil.


Key words: Heavy metals, accumulation, distribution, uptake, contamination, cultivation.