Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), recognised emerging contaminants, widely exist and persist in the environment. Samples were taken from a heavily contaminated farm in Taiwan located near a factory known to regularly use PBDEs. Sweet potato vines (Ipomoea batatas L., a commonly consumed vegetable in Asia) growing in the surrounding farmlands were found to contain a high concentration of PBDEs of 19.36 ng/g. The possibility of PBDEs translocation into sweet potato vines from soil samples was evaluated. To prevent the PBDEs from air through that factory, the pot experiments were performed in a greenhouse, which showed that the PBDEs concentration of 24 congeners (tri- through deca-BDE) in the sweet potato vine after 14-days cultivation was 29.90 ng/g, 40-times higher than that in the contaminated soil. After another 14-days, the PBDE concentration decreased to 12.30 ng/g as high-brominated PBDEs were transformed to medium- and/or low-brominated PBDEs in the sweet potato vine. The bioconcentration factor (BCF) values exceeded 20.0 for most of the deca-, nona-, and octa-BDEs but BCFs were below 18.9 for the rest of the medium- and low-brominated PBDEs. Our results demonstrate that high-brominated PBDEs can translocate into leafy vegetables from soils, and sweet potato vines tend to accumulate high-brominated PBDEs into their edible parts.
Keywords: Bioaccumulation factor; Plant translocation; Plant uptake; Polybrominated diphenyl ethers; Sweet potato vine.
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