Main content area

Estimation of Environmental Pollutants in Vegetables

Alamgir, Aamir, Khan, Moazzam Ali, Shaukat, S. Shahid, Shahab, Shoaib, Mahmood, Khalid
International journal of vegetable science 2016 v.22 no.2 pp. 161-169
Abelmoschus esculentus, Amaranthus, Capsicum annuum, Chrysomelidae, Lagenaria siceraria, Luffa aegyptiaca, Momordica charantia, Piper betle, Portulaca oleracea, Spinacia oleracea, Streptococcus, Zea mays, alfalfa, bacterial contamination, cadmium, chromium, coliform bacteria, copper, corn, food contamination, heavy metals, irrigated farming, lead, microbial load, municipal wastewater, nickel, okra, pollutants, river water, spinach, toxicity, toxins, watersheds, Pakistan
The Karachi area is drained by two major river basins used for dumping solid, industrial, agricultural, and domestic waste. The banks of the rivers are used for agricultural purposes and crops irrigated by contaminated river water. The industrial and domestic wastewater contains pollutants that are toxic to environmental and human health. Microbial loads and toxic heavy metals were determined in vegetables grown in the area. High levels of total coliforms count were found in lucerene (Portulaca oleracea L), amaranthus (Amaranthus spp. L.), and spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) as well as chilies (Capsicum annum L.). Total fecal coliforms were highest in amaranthus, maize (Zea mays L), and gourd (Lagenaria siceraria L). Total fecal streptococci count were high in spinach, maize, and okra. Low levels of bacteria were found in bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L.), luffa (Luffa cylindrica L.), and gourd. There was no Cr and Cd in samples; Cu concentration was highest in beetle leaf (Piper betle L.) and spinach and lowest in luffa. Lead was highest in lucerne and spinach and lowest in bitter gourd. Nickel concentration was highest in okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L.) and beetle leaf and lowest in luffa. Regardless of vegetable tested, none were considered safe for consumption based on levels of toxins and/or bacteria.