The bioaccumulation and physiological effects of heavy metals in carrots, onions, and potatoes and dietary implications for Cr and Ni: a review

J Food Sci. 2014 May;79(5):R765-80. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12433. Epub 2014 Apr 15.


The bioaccumulation of heavy metals in food tubers (carrots, onions, and potatoes) as a result of polluted irrigation water has been studied in this review paper. Given that heavy metals can cause a considerable oxidative stress, the impact of these metals to the physiology of the plants has also been assessed. The consumption of vegetables cross-contaminated with heavy metals carries a considerable risk for humans (especially for children and pregnant women) and these dietary implications are discussed while European Food Safety Authority has been urged to look into this matter of concern.

Keywords: food tubers; heavy metals; nutrition; pollution; risk.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromium / metabolism
  • Daucus carota / metabolism*
  • Diet*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Metals, Heavy / metabolism*
  • Nickel / metabolism
  • Onions / metabolism*
  • Soil Pollutants / metabolism
  • Solanum tuberosum / metabolism*
  • Vegetables / metabolism*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / metabolism*


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Chromium
  • Nickel