Arsenic speciation and localization in horticultural produce grown in a historically impacted mining region

Gareth Norton, Claire Deacon, Adrian Mestrot, Jorg Feldmann, Paul Jenkins, Christina Baskaran, Andrew A. Meharg

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A field and market basket study (∼1300 samples) of locally grown fruits and vegetables from historically mined regions of southwest (SW) England (Cornwall and Devon), and as reference, a market basket study of similarly locally grown produce from the northeast (NE) of Scotland (Aberdeenshire) was conducted to determine the concentration of total and inorganic arsenic present in produce from these two geogenically different areas of the U.K. On average 98.5% of the total arsenic found was present in the inorganic form. For both the market basket and the field survey, the highest total arsenic was present in open leaf structure produce (i.e., kale, chard, lettuce, greens, and spinach) being most likely to soil/dust contamination of the open leaf structure. The concentration of total arsenic in potatoes, swedes, and carrots was lower in peeled produce compared to unpeeled produce. For baked potatoes, the concentration of total arsenic in the skin was higher compared to the total arsenic concentration of the potato flesh, this difference in localization being confirmed by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (LA-ICP-MS). For all above ground produce (e.g., apples), peeling did not have a significant effect on the concentration of total arsenic present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6164-6172
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2013


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