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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Heavy Metals in the Environment

Influence of Nutrient Levels on Uptake and Effects of Mercury, Cadmium, and Lead in Water Spinach


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 4, p. 1247-1255
    Received: Nov 7, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s): agneta.goethberg@itm.su.se
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  1. Agneta Göthberg *a,
  2. Maria Gregerb,
  3. Karin Holma and
  4. Bengt-Erik Bengtssona
  1. a Institute of Applied Environmental Research (ITM), Laboratory for Aquatic Environmental Chemistry, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
    b Department of Botany, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden


In Southeast Asia the aquatic macrophyte water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica Forsk.) is a popular vegetable that is cultivated in freshwater courses. These often serve as recipients for domestic and other sorts of wastewater that often contain a variety of pollutants, such as heavy metals. In addition, fertilizers are frequently used where water spinach is cultivated commercially for the food market. To estimate the importance of ambient nutrient concentrations for accumulation of mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb) in water spinach, plants were exposed to nutrient solutions of different strength and with varying metal concentrations. Metal-induced toxic effects, which might possibly affect the yield of the plants, were also studied. The lower the nutrient strength in the medium was, the higher the metal concentrations that accumulated in the different plant parts and the lower the metal concentration in the medium at which metal-induced toxic effects occurred. Accordingly, internal metal concentrations in the plants were correlated to toxic effects. Plants exposed to metals retained a major proportion of the metals in the roots, which had a higher tolerance than shoots for high internal metal concentrations.

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