Thursday, 30 June 2016

Arsenic and lead uptake by Brassicas grown on an old orchard site

Volume 299, 15 December 2015, Pages 656–663


Arugula and collards accumulated As and Pb when grown in a long-contaminated orchard soil, with arugula exhibiting significantly higher As accumulation than collards.
Coefficients of transfer from soil into the above-ground vegetable tissues were higher for As than for Pb.
Contamination of arugula by Pb was correlated to soil particle contamination of above-ground tissues.
Amendment of soil with compost reduced plant concentrations of As and Pb.


Arugula (Eruca sativa) and collards (Brassica oleracea var. acephala), were grown at a former orchard where soils had been variably contaminated by lead arsenate pesticides. To test for the effect of compost on As and Pb transfer into plants, compost was added (0, 5, and 10% DW) to five plots representing a wide range of soil Pb and As. Arugula accumulated about 5 times higher As concentrations in above-ground tissues than collards, with high variability in individual plant concentrations. Soil to arugula transfer (uptake) coefficients were higher for As than for Pb, and increased with soil As. Crop concentrations of Pb varied widely within replicate samples of both arugula and collards. Arugula contamination by Pb was significantly correlated to soil total Pb, but collard contamination was not. Evidence was found using Al as an indicator of soil particle contamination of plant tissues that Pb in arugula was primarily due to soil particle deposition on foliar surfaces. Compost amendments reduced 0.01 M CaCl2 -extractable Pb but increased extractable As in the orchard soils. However, compost had the beneficial effect of reducing both As and Pb concentrations in harvested arugula grown on most of the plots.


  • Arsenic;
  • Brassicaceae;
  • Soil contamination;
  • Lead;
  • Plant uptake
Corresponding author at: Section of Soil and Crop Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. Fax: +1 697 255 8615.