John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Bioaccumulation of metals and metalloids in medicinal plant Ipomoea pes‐caprae from areas impacted by tsunami

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Tsunami events may have an enormous impact on the functioning of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems by altering various relationships with biotic components. Concentrations of acid‐leachable fractions of heavy metals and metalloids in soils and plant samples from areas affected by the December 2004 tsunami in Thailand were determined. Ipomoea pes‐caprae, a common plant species growing along the seashore of this region, and frequently used in folk medicine, was selected to assess the presence of selected elements. Elevated amounts of Cd, Pb, Zn, and As in soil samples, and Pb, Zn, As, Se, Cr, and Ni in plant samples were determined from the tsunami‐impacted regions for comparison with reference locations. The flowers of Ipomoea pes‐caprae contained the highest amounts of these metals, followed by its leaves, and stems. In addition, its bioaccumulation factor (BAF) supports this capability of high metal uptake by Ipomoea pes‐caprae from the areas affected by the tsunami in comparison with a reference site. This uptake was followed by the translocation of these elements to the various plant components. The presence of these toxic metals in Ipomoea pes‐caprae growing in contaminated soils should be a concern of those who use this plant for medicinal purposes. Further studies on the content of heavy metals and metalloids in this plant in relation to human health concerns are recommended. Environ Toxicol Chem 2014;9999:1–6. © 2015 SETAC

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