Element contents and food safety of water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica Forssk.) cultivated with wastewater in Hanoi, Vietnam

Environ Monit Assess. 2008 Apr;139(1-3):77-91. doi: 10.1007/s10661-007-9817-9. Epub 2007 Jun 26.


Extensive aquatic or semi-aquatic production of water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica Forssk.) for human consumption takes place in Southeast Asia. The aim of this study was to assess the concentrations of 38 elements in soil and water spinach cultivated under different degrees of wastewater exposure in Hanoi, Vietnam. The results showed no effect of wastewater use on the overall element concentrations in soil and water spinach. Mean soil concentrations for selected potentially toxic elements at the studied field sites had the following ranges 9.11-18.7 As, 0.333-0.667 Cd, 10.8-14.5 Co, 68-122 Cr, 34.0-62.1 Cu, 29.9-52.8 Ni, 32.5-67.4 Pb, 0.578-0.765 Tl and 99-189 Zn mg kg(-1) dry weight (d.w.). In all samples Cd, Pb and Zn soil concentrations were below the Vietnamese Guideline Values (TCVN 7209-2002) for agricultural soils whereas As and Cu exceeded the guideline values. Maximum site element concentrations in water spinach were 0.139 As, 0.032 Cd, 0.135 Cr, 2.01 Cu, 39.1 Fe, 57.3 Mn, 0.16 Ni, 0.189 Pb and 6.01 Zn mg kg(-1) fresh weight (f.w.). The site and soil content of organic carbon were found to have high influence on the water spinach element concentrations whereas soil pH and the total soil element concentrations were of less importance. The estimated average daily intake of As, Cd, Cu, Fe, Pb and Zn for adult Vietnamese consumers amounts to <11% of the maximum tolerable intake proposed by FAO/WHO for each element. It is assessed that the occurrence of the investigated elements in water spinach will pose low health risk for the consumers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Food Contamination*
  • Ipomoea / chemistry*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vietnam
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical*


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical