Monitoring of cadmium in "on" and "off" date palms

A. E. Pillay*, J. R. Williams, M. O. El Mardi, S. M. Hassan, A. Al-Hamdi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The study demonstrated that the mature dates we investigated were considered safe for human consumption. However, our findings revealed that much of the early fruit and leaves, which appeared at the advent of the fruiting season, possessed elevated levels of cadmium (Cd) that could accumulate in the food chain and thus impact adversely on the environment. In addition, animal feed for livestock contains date leaves, which should be restricted to the mature ones. The monitoring of cadmium in date palms is of considerable interest to environmental science and the thrust of this work, therefore, involved measurement, by ICP, of Cd in dates and corresponding leaf specimens, and evaluation of its distribution during the developmental stages of the fruiting season. Thirty-six date samples and 36 leaf specimens of the Fard cultivar were collected from "on" and "off" date palms during the Kimri, Bisir and Rutab stages of the fruiting season and subjected to suitable digestion procedures. Sample masses of typically 1 g (dry weight) were prepared in 25 ml dilute acid solution and investigated for trace levels of Cd by ICP-AES. Special attention was paid to contamination and the validation of our methodology. The Cd "threshold" in our study was 50 ng/g, in keeping with the levels of tolerance appearing in the literature. For the dates we found elevated levels of Cd [ > 50 ng/g] in most of the samples, for both categories of "on" and "off" trees, during the Kimri stage. In the case of the leaves, the "on" samples revealed significant values up to 125 ng/g in Bisir, in some cases, but the trend for the "off" trees remained the same with the highest levels [>100 ng/g] recorded during Kimri. Safe levels were attained during Rutab for all specimens. The possibility of a connection between Cd toxicity and the alternate-bearing phenomenon is discussed and this could be the subject of future interest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-276
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironment international
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2002


  • Cadmium toxicity
  • Date palms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


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