Effect of Organic Amendments on Heavy Metal Distribution and Uptake in Vegetable Gardens in Senegal
The major constraints to food production in West Africa are related to the lack of suitable lands. Consequently, farmers incorporate organic amendments and wastewater to improve their yields. Within some limits, such wastes enhance soil fertility and can improve its physical properties. However, the advantages of using organic waste as fertilizer and soil amendment should be assessed with possible environmental and toxicological impacts due to the potential presence of heavy metals. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of organic amendments on heavy metal distribution in soils and vegetables in market gardens in Senegal. Organic amendments and soils samples were collected from four sites in eastern and southern Senegal. Samples were analyzed for physicochemical properties including particle size, total heavy metals, carbon content, nutrients, and pH. A sequential extraction procedure was conducted to determine heavy metal sinks. Results showed that sites were sandy in nature, low to medium in organic carbon content (8300 to 36600 mg kg-1), and had pH ranging from 5 to 7.9. The sequential extraction procedure showed that metals were distributed in the more stable soil fractions: Fe-Mn oxide, organic and residual. The highest soil metal concentrations in soils were found in Pikine and Rufisque sites. Plant samples were collected from these two sites and analyzed for total metal content. Results showed that all metal concentrations in soils, organic amendments, and vegetables were within the safe limits proposed by the World Health Organization, with the exception of Cd, Pb and Zn levels in vegetables.