Temporal Variations of Heavy Metal Sources in Agricultural Soils in Malta

Christine Costa, Frederick Lia
2022 Applied Sciences  
In the opportunity to understand the benefits of Maltese soil and its importance to our climate, the content of heavy metals—including Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, and Zn—was studied in two fields in proximity in the south-east region of Malta. Analytical determinations were carried out using atomic absorption spectroscopy following heated aqua regia digestion on 50 collected samples using triple repeatability. The decreasing pattern of the concentrations obtained is Fe > Zn > Mn > Sr > Pb >
more » ... Cu > Ni > Cr > Co. Correlations between pre-harvesting and post-harvesting concentrations were examined to assess lithogenic and anthropogenic relationships. Multivariate analysis including principal component analysis and factor analysis clarified the origin of heavy metals content reviewed. Some of the heavy metals studied showed a dominant relationship between concentration variation and their possible sources. Potential ecological risk assessment demonstrated that the fields reviewed are not contaminated by any of the heavy metals assessed except for Zn which posed a moderate/strong contamination but presented an overall low potential for ecological risk. Concentrations of heavy metals demonstrated no risk to human health and no carcinogenic risk through ingestion and dermal contact with the soil.
doi:10.3390/app12063120 fatcat:ybqbke4egfgidoy5wvp3pt53gy