Selected Heavy Metals in Water and Sediments and Their Bioconcentrations in Plant ( Polygonum pulchrum) in Sosiani River, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya


Heavy metals availability and accumulation along the food chain pose public health risks. Water, sediment and plant samples were collected from selected sampling sites along Sosiani River, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. The sediment and plant samples were dried in the oven at 50°C to constant weight and digested in a mixture of acids according to standard procedures. The water samples, sediments and plants digests were analyzed for selected heavy metals using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (model AAS Variant 200). The site near the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) had the highest total heavy metals concentration in water: Cu (0.18 ± 0.04 ppm); Pb (0.46 ± 0.09 ppm) and Zn (0.70 ± 0.22 ppm) and sediments: Cu (1.62 ± 0.14 ppm); Pb (1.27 ± 0.17 ppm) and Zn (6.73 ± 0.88 ppm) respectively. Fractionation of heavy metals in sediments showed low percentage solubility (Cu 9.3%; Pb 8.5%; Zn 4.2%). Concentration of zinc in studied plants was highest (3.60 ± 0.63 ppm), with a bioconcentration factor of 15.1 based on soluble zinc fraction. This indicates that conditions in the study area show preferential zinc metal uptake in plants and may lead to accumulation in exposed plants posing Zn exposure risks along the food chain. Suggestions are made for monitoring of heavy metals in food crops and aquatic organisms such as fish in the study area.

Share and Cite:

J. Jepkoech, G. Simiyu and M. Arusei, "Selected Heavy Metals in Water and Sediments and Their Bioconcentrations in Plant ( Polygonum pulchrum) in Sosiani River, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 4 No. 8, 2013, pp. 796-802. doi: 10.4236/jep.2013.48093.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] R. S. Dobson and J. E. Burgess, “Biological Treatment of Precious Metal Refinery Wastewater: A Review,” Mineral Engineering, Vol. 20, No. 6, 2007, pp. 519-532. doi:10.1016/j.mineng.2006.10.011
[2] C. V. Miller, G. D. Foster and B. F. Majedi, “Base Flow and Storm Flow Metal Fluxes from Two Small Agricultural Catchments in the Coastal Plain of Chesapeake Bay Basin, United States,” Applied Geochemistry, Vol. 18, No. 4, 2003, pp. 483-501.
[3] D. L. Osmond, D. E. Line, J. A. Gale, R. W. Gannon., C. B. Knott, K. A. Bartenhagen, et al., “Water, Soil and Hydro-Environmental Decision Support System,” 1995.
[4] M. Dassenakis, M. Scoullos and A. Gaitis, “Trace Metals Transport and Behaviour in the Mediterranean Estuary of Archeloos River,” Marine Pollution Bulletin, Vol. 34, No. 2, 1997, pp. 103-111.
[5] H. Akcay, A. Orcuz and C. Karapire, “Study of Heavy Metal Pollution and Speciation in Buyak Menderes and Gediz River Sediments,” Water Research, Vol. 37, No. 4, 2003, pp. 813-822. doi:10.1016/S0043-1354(02)00392-5
[6] R. Nicolau, A. Galera-Cunha and Y. Lucas, “Transfer of Nutrients and Labile Nutrients from the Continent to the Sea by Small Mediterranean River,” Chemosphere, Vol. 63, No. 3, 2006, pp. 469-476. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2005.08.025
[7] Y. Suziki, A. Nogi and T. Fukasawa, “Gall L Protein, an Auxiliary Transcription Activator for Genes Encoding Galactose-Metabolizing Enzymes in Saccharomyces cereuisiae,” Molecular and Cellular Biology, Vol. 8, No. 11, 1988, pp. 4991-4999.
[8] E. O. Oyewo, “Industrial Sources & Distribution of Heavy Metals in Lagos Lagoon and Their Biological Effects on Estuarine Animals,” Ph.D. Thesis, University of Lagos, Lagos, 1998.
[9] A. A. Otitoloju and K. N. Don-Pedro, “Integrated Laboratory and Field Assessments of Heavy Metals Accumulation in Edible Periwinkle, Tympanotonus fuscatus var. Radula (L),” Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, Vol. 57, No. 3, 2004, pp. 354-362.
[10] A. Lozak, K. Soltyk, P. Ostapezuk and Z. Fijalek, “Determination of Selected Trace Elements in Herbs and Their Infusions,” Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 14, No. 1-3, 2001, pp. 1-8.
[11] L. J. Tsai, K. C. Yu, S. F. Chen and P. Y. Kung, “Effect of Temperature on Removal of Heavy Metals from Contaminated River Sediments via Bioleaching,” Water Research, Vol. 37, No. 10, 2003, pp. 2449-2457.
[12] N. López-González, J. Borrego, J. A. Morales, O. Carro and O. Lozano-Soria, “Metal Fractionation in Oxic Sediments of an Estuary Affected by Acid Mine Drainage (Southwestern Spain),” Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Vol. 68, No. 3-4, 2006, pp. 297-304.
[13] APHA, “Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Waste Water,” 17th Edition, American Public Health Association, Washington DC, 1989.
[14] APHA, “Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Waste Water,” 18th Edition, American Public Health Association, Washington DC, 1992.
[15] Y. J. Cui, Y. G. Zhu, R. H. Zhai, D. Y. Chen, Y. Z. Huang and Y. Qiu, “Transfer of Metals from Soil to Vegetables in an Area near a Smelter in Nanning, China,” International Journal of Environment, Vol. 30, No. 6, 2010, pp 785-791. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2004.01.003
[16] AOAC, “Official Methods of Analysis,” Journal of AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Chemists) International, 2000.
[17] J. M. Shitsama and M. P. Tole, “Heavy Metal Contaminants in Fish, Water and Sediments in Lake Victoria, Kenya,” 2003.
[18] G. M. Simiyu and M. P. Tole, “pH and Variations of Some Heavy Metals in the Infiltration Ponds at Olkaria, Kenya,” Journal of African Environmental Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 1-14.
[19] M. Ghos and S. P. Singh, “A Comparative Study of Cadmium Phytoextraction by Accumulator and Weed Species,” Environment Pollution, Vol. 133, No. 2, 2005, pp. 365-371.
[20] J. Mellem, H. Baijanth and B. Odhav, “Translocation and Accumulation of Cr, Hg, As, Pb, Cu and Ni by Amaranthus dubius (Amaranthaceae) from Contaminated Sites,” Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Vol. 44, No. 6, 2009, pp. 568-575.
[21] D. W. Connell and G. Miller, “Chemistry and Ecotoxicology of Pollution,” John Wiley and Sons Press, New York, 1984, pp. 407-412.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.