Keywords: road pollution, heavy metals, Zea mays, traffic pollution, soil contamination, food crops, environmental pollution, Greece
Towards an understanding of the effect of road pollution on adjacent food crops: Zea mays as an example
This work is a preliminary study to test the hypothesis that major roads can have an adverse effect on the heavy metal composition of soil and food crops. Surface and subsurface soil samples were collected at increasing distances from the major road in the Araxos area and they were analysed for organic C, Al, Pb, Cd, Zn, Cu, Ni, Fe, Mn, Cr, Co, P, Ca, Mg and Na by inductively coupled plasma emission spectroscopy. Levels of Ca, Al, Mg and Fe were significantly increased in the surface and subsurface soils in the vicinity of the roadside. This increase was due to dust released from lorries carrying building materials originating from limestone quarries existing in the area. The impact of traffic on adjacent soils was also evidenced by a sharp increase in Pb, Mn, Fe and Al concentrations in the leaves and roots of Zea mays L.