Mineral and heavy metal concentration of nutritionally and therapeutically valued wild plants: Insights into health effectsİhsan Ekin
Background and Aims: The purpose of the study was to determine the concentrations of minerals and heavy metals in nutritive and therapeutically valued wild plants Allium orientale Boiss., Eremurus spectabilis M. Bieb., Anchusa officinalis L. and Arum elongatum Steven. Methods: The presence and quantity of 23 minerals and heavy metals were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Results: The most common minerals were P, Mg, K, Ca, Fe and Al. Moderately abundant elements were Na, Sr, Zn, Cu, Mn, B and Ni. Toxic heavy metals such as Sn, Li, Co, Se, Sb, Hg, Cd, As and Pb were present at very low concentrations or were not detected. A. officinalis was observed to be rich in K (7496.435 mg/kg) and Ca (2947.378 mg/kg). On the other hand, Fe concentrations were high in A. orientale (1022.068 mg/kg) and A. elongatum (699.932 mg/kg). The Mg concentration in A. orientale (731.012 mg/kg) was almost double that in the other three plants. Al was found in high concentrations in A. orientale (889.368 mg/kg) and A. elongatum (651.570 mg/kg). Cr concentration of A. orientale, A. officinalis and A. elongatum exceeded both EPA limits and standard concentrations in plants. Conclusion: The study reveals the elemental profile, heavy metal content and possible effects on human health of four wild plants that are frequently used in alternative medicine and nutrition. Most of the elements are not at detrimental levels. Additionally, the results can be useful for the food and pharmaceutical industries and to guide nutritional and comparative studies.