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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION, CHARACTERIZATION, AND EVALUATION OF CROP GENETIC RESOURCES AND ASSOCIATED INFORMATION

Location: Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit

Title: Screening Capsicum chinense fruits for heavy metals bioaccumulation

Authors
item Antonious, George -
item Snyder, John -
item Burke, Terry -
item Jarret, Robert

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 21, 2010
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/45166
Citation: Antonious, G.F., Snyder, J.C., Burke, T., Jarret, R.L. 2010. Screening Capsicum chinense fruits for heavy metals bioaccumulation. Journal of Environmental Health. 45:562-571.

Interpretive Summary: Plants can accumulate heavy metals. Elevated levels of heavy metals in edible plants could expose consumers to these potentially hazardous chemicals. Sixty-three varieties of habanero-type peppers (Capsicum chinense Jacq.) that were collected from various countries were grown in Woodland, CA and their fruits subsequently analyzed their concentrations of the heavy metals Cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), Nickel (Ni), Lead (Pb), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), and Molybdenum (Mo). The objectives were to determine if the fruits of these various types of peppers accumulated heavy metals present in the soil, and to what extent. The concentrations and relative proportions of the heavy metals in pepper fruit of C. chinense varied among the different varieties. Fruit of Plant Introduction (PI) 355820 accumulated the highest concentration of Cadmium (0.47 µg g-1 dry fruit). PI-260522 accumulated the highest concentration of Lead (2.12 µg g-1 dry fruit). This is about twice the acceptable limit of lead on a fresh weight basis. The accession PI-238051 contained the highest level of Nickel (17.2 µg g-1). It was concluded that high accumulator varieties may be useful for the removal of heavy metals from the environment (phytoremediation). Also, varieties that do nkiot acculumulate heavy metals might be more appropriate selections for cultivation on Cd-, Pb-, or Ni-contaminated soils.

Technical Abstract: Elevated concentrations of heavy metals in edible plants could expose consumers to excessive levels of potentially hazardous chemicals. Sixty-three accessions (genotypes) of Capsicum chinense Jacq, collected from 8 countries of origin, were grown in a silty-loam soil under field conditions. At maturity, fruits were collected and analyzed for concentrations of the heavy metals Cd, Cr, Ni, Pb, Zn, Cu, and Mo. The objectives were to: 1) determine concentrations of seven heavy metals in the soil and monitor their accumulation in mature fruits, 2) categorize the pepper accessions as low or high heavy metal accumulators, and 3) determine if heavy metal content of the pepper fruit was lower than the permitted limits. Concentrations and relative proportions of heavy metals in pepper fruit of C. chinense varied among accessions. Fruit of Plant Introduction (PI) 355820 accumulated the highest concentration of Cd (0.47 µg g-1 dry fruit). PI-260522 accumulated the highest concentration of Pb (2.12 µg g-1 dry fruit), about twice the Pb limit on a fresh weight basis. The accession PI-238051 contained the highest level of Ni (17.2 µg g-1). High accumulator genotypes may be useful for phytoremediation. While, low accumulator accessions might be appropriate selections for growing on Cd-, Pb-, or Ni-contaminated soils to prevent potential human exposure to heavy metals and health hazards through the food chain.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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