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Soil-to-plant transfer of heavy metals and an assessment of human health risks in vegetable-producing areas of São Paulo state

Grant number: 13/08579-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2013
Effective date (End): August 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Soil Science
Principal Investigator:Luís Reynaldo Ferracciú Alleoni
Grantee:Sabrina Novaes dos Santos-Araujo
Supervisor: Frank A. Swartjes
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Research place: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Netherlands  
Associated to the scholarship:12/03682-2 - Soil-plant transfer of heavy metals and assessment of risk to human health in crops in the state of São Paulo, BP.DR


The concern regarding the presence and accumulation of potentially toxic elements (mainly heavy metals) in soil and consequently in plants has been steady due to the adverse effects they may cause to the environment and human health. One of the main routes of exposure to heavy metals (MP) for the majority of the population is through ingestion of food, but there are few studies related to the concentrations of MPs in soils and plants of humid tropical regions, especially in Brazil. The index most commonly used to estimate the accumulation of heavy metals in plants and subsequent human exposure by vegetable is bioconcentration factor (BCF), which is the ratio between the concentration of MPs in edible parts of the plants and the total concentration of metal in the soil. However, the BCF does not adequately describe the mechanism of soil-plant transfer of metals, and the use of relationships involving the main soil properties that influence the willingness of MPs to plants may explain the soil-plant relations in more detail. The state of São Paulo is the largest consumer market, besides being the largest and most diverse vegetable crop producer in Brazil. Thus, research is needed on the concentration of MPs in soils and vegetables, for evaluation of their quality over the limits established by law. Likewise, it is important to establish the critical limits of these elements in soils, using models of risk assessment to human health, based on results that represent the real condition of the soil of São Paulo. The National Institute of Public Health and Environment of the Netherlands (RIVM) is a center of excellence in research related to soil-plant transfer of potentially toxic elements and ecotoxicological risk assessment and human health for several years and conducts studies to support the government Dutch in making decisions about the guiding values for soil and groundwater that country. The RIVM developed mathematical model C-Soil and advised the Company of Environmental Sanitation Technology (Cetesb) to develop Table Guiding Values of SP. Cetesb is the environmental agency of the state of São Paulo, responsible for the control, supervision, monitoring and licensing of pollution-generating activities.This work aims to: (i) calculate the risk to human health due to the consumption of vegetables, (ii) derive the soil-plant relations and calculate the critical concentration of soil Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn, using the Model C-Soil. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
DOS SANTOS-ARAUJO, SABRINA N.; SWARTJES, FRANK A.; VERSLUIJS, KEES W.; MORENO, FABIO NETTO; ALLEONI, LUIS R. F.. Soil-plant transfer models for metals to improve soil screening value guidelines valid for Sao Paulo, Brazil. ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT, v. 189, n. 12, . (12/03682-2, 13/08579-8)
DOS SANTOS-ARAUJO, SABRINA NOVAES; FERRACCIU ALLEONI, LUIS REYNALDO. Concentrations of potentially toxic elements in soils and vegetables from the macroregion of Sao Paulo, Brazil: availability for plant uptake. ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT, v. 188, n. 2, . (12/03682-2, 13/08579-8)

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