Source-specific risk assessment for cadmium in wheat and maize: Towards an enrichment model for China

Jürgen Franzaring , Zhong Zhuang , Qiqi Wang , Siyu Huang , Andrea Giovanna NiñoSavala , Yanan Wan , Huafen Li , Andreas H. Schweiger , Andreas Fangmeier


Received September 01, 2021,Revised , Accepted February 14, 2022, Available online February 27, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 723-734

Cadmium (Cd) pollution of agricultural soil is of public concern due to its high potential toxicity and mobility. This study aimed to reveal the risk of Cd accumulation in soil and wheat/maize systems, with a specific focus on the source-specific ecological risk, human health risk and Cd enrichment model. For this we investigated more than 6100 paired soil and grain samples with 216 datasets including soil Cd contents, soil pH and grain Cd contents of 85 sites from China. The results showed that mining activities, sewage irrigation, industrial activities and agricultural practices were the critical factors causing Cd accumulation in wheat and maize cultivated sites. Thereinto, mining activities contributed to a higher Cd accumulation risk in the southwest China and Middle Yellow River regions; sewage irrigation influenced the Cd accumulation in the North China Plain. In addition, the investigated sites were classified into different categories by comparing their soil and grain Cd contents with the Chinese soil screening values and food safety values, respectively. Cd enrichment models were developed to predict the Cd levels in wheat and maize grains. The results showed that the models exhibited a good performance for predicting the grain Cd contents among safe and warning sites of wheat (R2 = 0.61 and 0.72, respectively); while the well-fitted model for maize was prone to the overestimated sites (R2 = 0.77). This study will provide national viewpoints for the risk assessments and prediction of Cd accumulation in soil and wheat/maize systems.

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