Potentially toxic metal accumulation and human health risk from consuming wild Urtica urens sold on the open markets of Izmir

Ugulu I., Unver M. C., DOĞAN Y.



Urtica urens is naturally distributed worldwide and frequently consumed as a medicinal and culinary plant. The aim of this study was to assess the concentration of potentially toxic metals in the samples of Urtica urens sold in various locations throughout Izmir, Turkey. Urtica urens samples were purchased from a variety of open markets. The metal concentrations in these plants were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES). The significance of differences in the mean accumulation levels of the metals by plants was evaluated by analysis of variance (ANOVA). The concentrations of Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn (mu g g(-1), dry weight) for unwashed plants ranged from 0.030 to 0.645, 0.258-1.596, 10.620-96.400, 120.500-721.500, 22.270-75.410, 0.256-2.046, 0.164-6.746, and 25.610-74.770, respectively, whereas for washed plants, they ranged from 0.016 to 0.099, 0.238-0.728, 0.001-57.750, 0.003-347.800, 0.001-60.500, 0.125-1.359, 0.091-1.679, and 0.005-40.100, respectively. Concentrations in washed samples plants were lower for all metals. Also, the statistical findings indicated that washing wild, culinary, and medicinal plants before consumption is beneficial in terms of removing potentially toxic metals, agricultural herbicides, and pesticide residues. The health risk index (HRI) values of the washed vegetable samples are lower than those of the unwashed samples. Therefore, the consumption of washed plant samples is healthier.