Appreciable levels of total chromium (Cr) and arsenic (As) were found (by emission spectroscopy) in date palm leaves, which form a significant ingredient in livestock feed. The levels in the fruit were considered safe for human consumption. Our work involved evaluation of the distribution of these elements in the leaves during the developmental stages of the fruiting season. Thirty-six leaf specimens of the Fard cultivar were collected 9, 15 and 20 weeks, respectively, after pollination and subjected to a standard digestion procedure. Sample masses of typically 1 g (dry weight) were prepared in 25 ml dilute acid solution and investigated for trace levels of Cr and As by ICP-AES. Eleven soil samples collected at random during the growth stages were subjected to a similar digestion procedure and analysis. According to the literature, the permissible mean levels of Cr and As in plants are 200 and 80 ng/g (dry weight), respectively. We used these values as our guideline to assess the "risk" levels in our samples of interest. In the case of Cr, about 45% of the specimens possessed levels between 250 and 700 ng/g, while a significant number produced levels between 1000 and 5000 ng/g. With regard to As, about 70% of the samples were above the documented permissible mean value. As a result of the unusually high Cr concentrations in some cases, the feasibility of Cr "accumulation" in the leaves was examined. Insects and other organisms subsist on the leaves and an added concern was the accumulation of these elements in the food chain. The study formed an interesting contribution to environmental research, and the impact of our assessment on the environment is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Environmental Science