Assessing the Toxicity of Colocassia Esculenta (Cocoyam Plant) Grown on Mercury Contaminated Soil

  • Deborah Asarebea Asare UMaT
  • Eugenia Anderson
  • Margaret Ekua Amosah
  • Rabboni Ntiri-Bekoh
  • Grace Ofori-Sarpong

Abstract

The unsafe disposal of heavy metals is a serious environmental problem all over the world as it has devastating effects on plant biodiversity as well as animal and human health. Contamination can be caused by effluents from industries and exposure of rocks containing heavy metals such as arsenic (As), lead (Pb), and mercury (Hg). Several techniques have been used to clean up soil and water bodies contaminated with these heavy metals. Phytoremediation is one of the emerging methods which has proven to be ecofriendly and efficient. Plants such as Colocasia esculenta have been reported to be a hyperaccumulator. However, there are concerns regarding the excessive metal uptake by the plant when grown on mercury-contaminated sites, since high Hg levels can cause toxicity in human beings. This study was thus carried out to ascertain the toxicity of C. esculenta plants cultivated in 10 ppm Hg-induced soil sample for four weeks. The concentration of mercury in daily samples decreased after 28 days of planting. Accumulation of Hg in plant tissues was measured, and Translocation Factor (TF) was calculated. TF was in the order of Root-Stem (0.60) > Root-Leaves (0.56) > Soil-Root (0.23).  The results indicated that Cocoyam plants have an excellent ability to remove Hg from contaminated soils and further accumulate it in their tissues. With the threshold level of Hg at 0.0016 mg/kg body weight (FAO/WHO), the results obtained suggest that cocoyam plants grown in such contaminated areas may pose health threats to humans.

 

Author Biographies

Deborah Asarebea Asare, UMaT

Picture_4.pngD. A Asare is the Director for Royals Waakye, in Adenta. She holds BSc in Minerals Engineering from the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, Ghana. She is a fellow of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM). Her areas of research interest include small-scale mining, waste management, mineral beneficiation, phytoremediation and environmental management.

 

Eugenia Anderson

15ac7c09-9bc2-49b5-bb8b-951d64181da2.JPGE. Andersonis a Graduate Trainee at Newmont Golden Ridge Limited, Akyem Mine. She holds BSc. Minerals Engineering graduate from theUniversity of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, Ghana. She is a Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AuSIMM) and the Organiser (Industry) for the Ladies in Mining and Allied Professions in Ghana. Her areas of research interest include precious minerals beneficiation, phytoremediation and industrial waste management.

Margaret Ekua Amosah

f6205c99-8dbc-4f1a-bf9c-8b44db28cd8f1.jpE Amosah is a Plant Metallurgical Intern at Golden Star Resources, Wassa. She holds BSc Minerals Engineering from the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, Ghana. She is a fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AuSIMM) and Ladies in Mining and Allied Professions in Ghana. Her areas of research interest include mineral beneficiation, water quality management, bio and phyto remediation, flotation studies and environmental management.

Rabboni Ntiri-Bekoh

ecde10a7-95c0-4ef9-9190-e7d6b3caedbe.JPGR. Ntiri-Bekoh is currently reading MSc in Engineering Management at the University of Mines and Technology, (UMaT) Tarkwa, Ghana. He holds a BSc in Minerals Engineering from UMaT. His research interest include mineral processing, extractive metallurgy and phytoremediation.

Grace Ofori-Sarpong

Picture_15.pngG. Ofori-Sarpong is a Professor of Minerals Engineering at the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa. She holds PhD in Energy and Mineral Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, MSc in Environmental Resources Management and BSc in Metallurgical Engineering, both from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana. She is a Fellow of Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and West African Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (WAIMM). She is also a member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Engineers (SME), Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the Founder and President of Ladies in Mining and Allied Professions in Ghana. Her areas of research interest include microbial-mineral interaction, environmental biohydrometallurgy, acid mine drainage issues and precious minerals beneficiation.

Published
2021-12-30
Section
Environmental and Safety Eng. Articles