Heavy-metal contamination of soil and vegetables in wastewater-irrigated agricultural soil in a suburban area of Hanoi, Vietnam

Nguyen Thi Lan Huong, Masami Ohtsubo, Loretta Li, Takahiro Higashi, Motohei Kanayama

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28 Citations (Scopus)


The To Lich and Kim Nguu Rivers, laden with untreated waste from industrial sources, serve as sources of water for irrigating vegetable farms. The purposes of this study were to identify the impact of wastewater irrigation on the level of heavy metals in the soils and vegetables and to predict their potential mobility and bioavailability. Soil samples were collected from different distances from the canal. The average concentrations of the heavy metals in the soil were in the order zinc (Zn; 204 mg kg-1) > copper (Cu; 196 mg kg-1) > chromium (Cr; 175 mg kg-1) > lead (Pb; 131 mg kg-1) > nickel (Ni; 60 mg kg-1) > cadmium (Cd; 4 mg kg-1). The concentrations of all heavy metals in the study site were much greater than the background level in that area and exceeded the permissible levels of the Vietnamese standards for Cd, Cu, and Pb. The concentrations of Zn, Ni, and Pb in the surface soil decreased with distance from the canal. The results of selective sequential extraction indicated that dominant fractions were oxide, organic, and residual for Ni, Pb, and Zn; organic and oxide for Cr; oxide for Cd; and organic for Cu. Leaching tests for water and acid indicated that the ratio of leached metal concentration to total metal concentration in the soil decreased in the order of Cd > Ni > Cr > Pb > Cu > Zn and in the order of Cd > Ni > Cr > Zn > Cu > Pb for the ethylenediaminetetraaceitc acid (EDTA) treatment. The EDTA treatment gave greater leachability than other treatments for most metal types. By leaching with water and acid, all heavy metals were fully released from the exchangeable fraction, and some heavy metals were fully released from carbonate and oxide fractions. The concentrations of Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn in the vegetables exceeded the Vietnamese standards. The transfer coefficients for the metals were in the order of Zn > Ni > Cu > Cd = Cr > Pb.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-407
Number of pages18
JournalCommunications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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