Urban vegetable farming: Anthropic level, bioavailability, and health implication associated with bioaccumulated trace metals in selected vegetables in Ilorin, Nigeria

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Environmental Biology Unit, Department of Plant Biology, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

2 Department of Chemistry, Akwa Ibom State University, P.M.B. 1167, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria

3 Department of Geography, Osun State University, Osogbo, Nigeria

4 School of Forensic and Applied Science, University of Central Lancashire, PR1 2HE, United Kingdom

10.7508/pj.2017.02. 010


Urban horticulture is of growing importance in developing and developed countries around the world; however, contamination of urban horticultural products can exceed the precautionary values, posing significant human health risks due to dietary exposure to high levels of the pollutants. In this study, samples of rhizosphere soil and corresponding vegetables have been collected from an urban garden in Ilorin, Nigeria, to assess the contamination level of trace metals as well as the health risk, associated with dietary intake of contaminated vegetables, in adult sub-population. The range of Cu, Pb, and Cd in garden topsoil was 14.0-52.50, 33.00-121.40, and 1.00-4.50 mg/kg, respectively. The metals sources were both anthropogenic and lithogenous, though the long-term accumulation of trace metals in the soil led to significant soil-plant transfer as evident in the levels of metals in some of the vegetables. The estimated daily intakes (EDI) of Cu and Pb through vegetable consumption were far below the recommended tolerable daily intakes (TDI) and the hazard quotient (HQ) values were within the safe zone for the adult population. In contrast, the EDI of Cd for the vegetables was several folds greater than the TDI, thus greatly contributing to a high hazard index (HI>1.0), observed in all vegetables. Therefore, risk assessment of trace metal ingestion through consumption of the vegetables in the adult sub-population depicts serious health hazards with Cd, mainly contributing to vegetable contamination in the studied area.


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