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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


PEREZ-VARGAS, Híver M; VIDAL-DURANGO, Jhon V  and  MARRUGO-NEGRETE, José L. Evaluation of the mercury accumulating capacity of pepper (Capsicum annuum). Rev. salud pública [online]. 2014, vol.16, n.6, pp.897-909. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objective To assess the mercury accumulating capacity in contaminated soils from the community of Mina Santa Cruz, in the south of the department of Bolívar, Colombia, of the pepper plant (Capsicum annuum), in order to establish the risk to the health of the consuming population. Materials and Methods Samples were taken from tissues (roots, stems, and leaves) of pepper plants grown in two soils contaminated with mercury and a control soil during the first five months of growth to determine total mercury through cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry. Total mercury was determined in the samples of pepper plant fruits consumed in Mina Santa Cruz. Results The mean concentrations of total mercury in the roots were higher than in stems and leaves. Accumulation in tissues was influenced by mercury levels in soil and the growth time of the plants. Mercury concentrations in fruits of pepper plant were lower than tolerable weekly intake provided by WHO. Conclusion Percent of translocation of mercury to aerial parts of the plant were low in both control and contaminated soils. Despite low levels of mercury in this food, it is necessary to minimize the consumption of food contaminated with this metal.

Keywords : Mercury; mining; gold; foods; spectrophotometry.

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