South Indian Banana Field - Heavy Metal Contamination. - Seeker's Thoughts

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Monday, 10 September 2018

South Indian Banana Field - Heavy Metal Contamination.

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Heavy metal contamination detected

After decades of intensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, its negative impacts are reaching new heights. Heavy metal contamination is now reported in several banana fields of South India.
According to a recent study over 250 soil samples, from three south India states – Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu – has shown that most of the banana field contain heavy amount of Copper, Magnesium, chromium and cobalt that are higher than the threshold levels.

A research from laboratory of plant and science and ecology at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, collected the different soil samples, categorised the soil taxonomy. they used atomic absorption spectroscopy studies analysis to calculate the level of different heavy metals.

heavy metals - mixing in the soil

Because of using chemical fertilizers without proper soil testing and applying above the recommended level. As banana is highly prone to insect and nematode attack, so high level of chemicals are used which get accumulated in the soil.
Calcium level almost reached to thresholds in many fields. Another heavy metal recorded was Manganese, a major component of pesticides used against fungal diseases like fusarium wilt.
Though the concentration of iron was high, this might be due to the laterite-based soil of the Deccan Plateau. Chromium, which rarely occurs naturally in soil, was detected in all the samples studied.

Effects of heavy metal in Soil, Plants and Human Health?

Effects on soil – Soil contamination by heavy metals is one of the most important apprehension – (fearful) through the industrialized world. Heavy metal pollution not only results in adverse effects on various parameters relating to the plant quality and yield but also causes change in the size of composition of the microbial community. Heavy metal considered as one the major source of soil pollution.

Effects on plants - Some of the heavy metals are not essential for plants growth, since they do not perform any physiological function in plants. These heavy metals lead plants to the state of poisoning when their concentration is greater than optimal values.

Effects on Human Health- The plant uptake of heavy metals from soil at high concentration may result in greater health risk. Taking in to consideration food-chain implications, utilization of food crops contamination with heavy metals is major food fchain route for human exposure to this health hazard. The cultivation of such plants in contaminated soil represents a high risk of chronic effects like- anaemia, fatigue, gastrointestinal problems and anoxia. Lead can cause difficulties in pregnancy, high blood pressure, muscle and joint pain.

Soil, which has taken thousands of years to form through a natural process. Using chemical fertilizers  without a proper analysis can extremely harmful to the soil and its quality. as well as it will impact human health , and entire food chain. Organic matter would play important role in maintain soil fertility. There is a need to educate farmers and aware them about the importance of the soil in nature. To understand more about heavy metal contamination several more research are  needed.
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