Heavy Metals in Agriculture Soils from High Andean Zones and Potential Ecological Risk Assessment in Peru's Central Andes
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Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú
Centro Internacional de la Papa (CIP)
Edith Pilar Orellana   

Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú
Publication date: 2020-11-01
J. Ecol. Eng. 2020; 21(8):108–119
Soil is exposed to pollutants such as heavy metals that are associated with anthropogenic activities, and is currently an environmental and food safety problem. The concentration and source of heavy metals in agricultural soils, the level of contamination and the potential for ecological risk in high Andean ecosystems were evaluated. Soil samples were collected from the surface part in which Andean crops were sown and the concentration of As, Cd, Pb, Fe and Zn was quantified. The concentrations of heavy metals in soils did not exceed the threshold of the national and international standard, while As, Pb and Zn exceeded the values of the background. The contamination factor (CF) values showed a high level of contamination for As and moderate for Pb and Zn. The geoaccumulation index (Igeo) values showed that arsenic (As) had the highest load of accumulated pollutants in soils by anthropogenic contribution. 61.5% of the sampling sites presented a moderate degree of contamination (CD). The potential ecological risk index (RI) showed that the soils of the study area presented a moderate to low potential ecological risk, and arsenic was the main pollutant in high Andean soils. As, Pb and Zn in high Andean soils were mainly originated from human activities such as agricultural practices and Fe was mainly originated from parent material of the soil. The effects of the use of organic and inorganic fertilizers on the accumulation of heavy metals in and Andean agricultural products must be analyzed and verified to protect the health of the inhabitants and the environment.