Phyllanthus niruri is a plant that is used to prevent calcium oxalate crystallisation and to block the stone formation in urolithiasis. Contaminants in the environment can be readily taken up by medicinal plants due to their ability to absorb chemicals into their tissues. If contaminated plants are ingested, they have the potential to negatively affect human and environmental health. The aim of this study was to assess contamination in the soil and the medicinal plant P. niruri by cadmium (Cd) in ceramic industrial areas of Monte Carmelo, Brazil. Soil samples and plant samples (divided in root, shoot and leaves) were collected from a contaminated monitoring site and from a rural area (which was used as a reference site for comparative purposes). The Cd concentrations of the samples were analysed with an atomic absorption spectrometer. P. niruri was found to be sensitive to soil contamination by Cd that was attributed to ceramic industrial emissions. The results revealed that Cd bioaccumulation in the roots and shoots of P. niruri was associated with a significant increase (p?0.05) in the concentration of active lignan compounds (phyllanthin and hypophyllanthin) in the leaves. The identification of high concentrations of Cd and active lignan compounds suggests a risk of contamination of the site and the risk of a high dose of Cd to people exposed at the site.
Authors: Santos VSV, Arantes KM, Gonçalves EL, Campos CF, de Campos Júnior EO, de Oliveira AMM, Pereira BB. ; Full Source: Environmental Monitoring Assessment. 2018 Apr 22;190(5):303. doi: 10.1007/s10661-018-6693-4.