Levels of Heavy Metals in Banana, Cocoa and Oil Palm Farming Systems in Cameroon

  • Njukeng Jetro Nkengafac Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD), Ekona Regional Research Centre, PMB 25 Buea, South West Region, Cameroon https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3128-5435
  • Sylvia Kratz Julius Khün Institute for Soil and Crop Sciences, PB 60 Bundasalle -Braunschweig, Germany
  • Ewald Schnug Julius Khün Institute for Soil and Crop Sciences, PB 60 Bundasalle -Braunschweig, Germany
Keywords: Cameroon, Farming system, Heavy metals, Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES)

Abstract

The potential accumulation of heavy metals in soils due to rapid urban and industrial development, and increasing reliance on agrochemicals in the last several decades has been of public concern. Excessive heavy metal accumulation in soils may not only result in environmental contamination, but excessive heavy metal uptake by crops may affect food quality and safety. The heavy metal concentrations of soils in banana, cocoa and oil palm farming systems in Fako Division of the South West Region of Cameroon were studied. For soil quality assessment, soil samples were collected at two depths: 0-15 cm and 15-30 cm and analyzed for seven heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Cr, Ni, Mn, Pb and Zn) using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer (ICP-OES). Cd levels in these soils were below the limits of detection (LOD) at both depths. Average contents of Cd, Cu, Cr, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn in mg/kg ranged in the order: Cd (< LOD) < Pb (10.7 -17.1) < Cu (59.7-112.7) < Ni (100.2 -174.5) < Zn (129.7-180.4) < Cr (192.7-685.3) < Mn (2731.5-5053.5) for both depths. The soils were all acidic (pH; 4.2-5.5). There were significant variations (p≤0.05) in Cu, Cr, Mn and Zn concentrations within  different farming system(s). The soils of the studied farming systems had heavy metal levels within the allowable limits for agriculture. However, the levels of Cu, Cr and Ni were higher in some samples. Although these soils are considered to be unpolluted, care should be taken to avoid high concentrations of heavy metals.

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Abstract
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PDF
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Published
2020-01-27
How to Cite
Jetro Nkengafac, N., Kratz, S., & Schnug, E. (2020). Levels of Heavy Metals in Banana, Cocoa and Oil Palm Farming Systems in Cameroon. International Journal of Environment, 9(1), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.3126/ije.v9i1.27426
Section
Research Papers