How polluted are cities in central Europe? - Heavy metal contamination in Taraxacum officinale and soils collected from different land use areas of three representative cities

Chemosphere. 2021 Mar;266:129113. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.129113. Epub 2020 Nov 26.


The level of environmental contamination can vary according to different types of land use. The aim of the present study was to determine the relations among Cd, Pb, Ni and Cr content in plants (Taraxacum officinale) and soils for 10 types of land use in the urban areas of representative cities for central Europe region (Warsaw, Poznan and Wroclaw in Poland). Descriptive statistical analysis, as well as cluster analysis and principal component analysis, heatmaps and Andrews curves, was performed to identify relations between HMs and land use, as well as differences between particular cities. The investigations revealed variation among sites, plant organs and cities. The content (mg kg-1 DW) in soils, roots and leaves for Cd varied between 0.4 and 3.6, 0.4-2.8 and 0.5-3.9, Cr ranged between 23.2 and 40.6, 14.0-26.1 and 15.8-24.8, Ni varied between 2.1 and 13.2, 0.2-42.1 and 0.0-3.9, while Pb varied between 27.0 and 231.5, 4.3-34.2 and 3.0-9.5, respectively. It was possible to note some tendencies. Nickel was the element with the highest content in the roots (up to 42.1 mg kg-1 DW) in comparison to leaves and soils and the highest bioaccumulation factor (up to 15.0). This means that the main source of Ni might be contamination of the soil. The cluster analysis of standardized HM levels in leaves revealed that cadmium is a different from the other three elements, which might be related to the translocation factor, for which this element was found to have the highest levels at many sites.

Keywords: Bioaccumulation factor; Bioindication; Cities; Dandelion; Land use; Translocation factor.

MeSH terms

  • Cities
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Europe
  • Metals, Heavy* / analysis
  • Poland
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants* / analysis
  • Taraxacum*


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants