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Contamination of harvested organs in root crops grown on chlordecone-polluted soils

Cabidoche Y.M., Jannoyer-Lesueur M.. 2012. Pedosphere, 22 (4) : p. 562-571.

Chlordecone, one of the most persistent organochlorine pesticides, was applied between 1972 and 1993 in banana fields in the French West Indies, which results in long-term pollution of soils and contamination of waters, aquatic biota, and crops. As human exposure to chlordecone is mainly due to food contamination, early research was focused on chlordecone transfer to crops. Field trials were conducted to investigate chlordecone contamination of yam, sweet potato, turnip, and radish grown on a Ferralic Nitisol polluted by chlordecone. We also carried out trials on yam, courgette, and tomato under greenhouse conditions with homogenized Andosol and Nitisol, polluted by chlordecone to various extents. Our results indicated that i) all tubers were contaminated in accordance with the chlordecone content of the soils; ii) the plant contamination capacity of the Nitisol was greater than that of the Andosol; and iii) whatever the soil type, tuber contamination was related to the soil volumetric content of dissolved chlordecone. Nevertheless, no tubers showed sufficient chlordecone uptake for efficient soil decontamination by means of plant extraction. Soil contact accounted for most of the root crop contamination, which was inversely proportional to the tuber size. Internal transfer might also increase root crop contamination when the root central cylinder contained raw sap flow, as in the case of turnip or radish. Courgette fruits showed high contamination without soil contact. Thus, further research is needed to explore the pattern of both below- and aboveground plant chlordecone contamination and assess the hypothesis of its correlation with sap flow. Finally, we used our results to build a decisionmaking tool for farmers, relating soil pollution with the maximal contamination of the harvested organs to predict crop contamination and thus assisting farmers in making crop choices at planting in order to conform with the European Union's regulations. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : navet; patate douce; radis; igname; nitosol; chlordécone; contamination chimique; pollution par l'agriculture; pollution du sol; composé organochlore; légume racine; guadeloupe

Thématique : Contamination et toxicologie alimentaires; Pollution; Chimie et physique du sol; Culture des plantes

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