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In This Article
 »  Abstract
 »  Introduction
 »  Heavy Metals/Met...
 »  History
 »  Heavy Metals and...
 »  Heavy Metals and...
 »  Heavy Metals Con...
 »  Heavy Metals and...
 »  Heavy Metals and...
 »  Evidence in Supp...
 »  Contradictory Cl...
 »  Conclusion
 »  References
 »  Article Figures
 »  Article Tables

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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 43  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 246-253
 

Heavy metals and living systems: An overview


Department of Pharmacognosy, Babu Banarasi Das National Institute of Technology and Management, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Submission11-May-2010
Date of Decision13-Aug-2010
Date of Acceptance23-Feb-2011
Date of Web Publication24-May-2011

Correspondence Address:
Reena Singh
Department of Pharmacognosy, Babu Banarasi Das National Institute of Technology and Management, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0253-7613.81505

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 » Abstract 

Heavy metals are natural constituents of the earth's crust, but indiscriminate human activities have drastically altered their geochemical cycles and biochemical balance. This results in accumulation of metals in plant parts having secondary metabolites, which is responsible for a particular pharmacological activity. Prolonged exposure to heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc can cause deleterious health effects in humans. Molecular understanding of plant metal accumulation has numerous biotechnological implications also, the long term effects of which might not be yet known.


Keywords: Ayurveda, herbal preparation, hyper accumulation, phytoremediation


How to cite this article:
Singh R, Gautam N, Mishra A, Gupta R. Heavy metals and living systems: An overview. Indian J Pharmacol 2011;43:246-53

How to cite this URL:
Singh R, Gautam N, Mishra A, Gupta R. Heavy metals and living systems: An overview. Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2011 [cited 2021 Dec 9];43:246-53. Available from: https://www.ijp-online.com/text.asp?2011/43/3/246/81505



 » Introduction Top


Any toxic metal may be called heavy metal, irrespective of their atomic mass or density. [1] Heavy metals are a member of an ill-defined subset of elements that exhibit metallic properties. These include the transition metals, some metalloids, lanthanides, and actinides. One source defines heavy metal as one of the common transition metals, such as copper, lead, and zinc. These metals are a cause of environmental pollution from sources such as leaded petrol, industrial effluents, and leaching of metal ions from the soil into lakes and rivers by acid rain. [2] Three principal systems of medicine are practiced in India: Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani-Tibb. These systems utilize drugs of natural origin constituting plants, animals, and mineral preparations.


 » Heavy Metals/Metalloids Top


Any metal (or metalloid) species may be considered a ''contaminant'' if it occurs where it is unwanted, or in a form or concentration that causes a detrimental human or environmental effect. Metals/metalloids include lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), selenium (Se), nickel (Ni), silver (Ag), and zinc (Zn). Other less common metallic contaminants include aluminium (Al), cesium (Cs), cobalt (Co), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), strontium (Sr), and uranium (U). [3]


 » History Top


Ayurvedic medicines originated in India more than 2000 years ago and rely heavily on herbal medicinal products (HMPs). [4] Approximately 80% of India's population use ayurveda through more than one-half million ayurvedic practitioners working in 860 ayurvedic hospitals and 22100 clinics. [5] As early as the 19 th century, there were plants identified, which were capable of accumulating uncommonly high Zn levels and hyper accumulating up to 1% Ni in shoots. Following the identification of these and other hyper accumulating species, a great deal of research has been conducted to elucidate the physiology and biochemistry of metal hyper accumulation in plants. [6] In the United States, ayurvedic remedies are now available from South Asian markets, ayurvedic practitioners, health food stores, and the Internet. Because ayurvedic HMPs are marketed as dietary supplements, they are regulated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which does not require proof of safety or efficacy. [7] Since 1978 more than 80 cases of lead poisoning associated with ayurvedic medicine use have been reported worldwide. [8] Metal contamination of garden soils may be widespread in urban areas due to past industrial activity and the use of fossil fuels. [9]


 » Heavy Metals and Living Organism Top


Living organisms require varying amounts of heavy metals. Iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc are required by humans. [10] All metals are toxic at higher concentrations. [9] Excessive levels can be damaging to the organism. Other heavy metals such as mercury, plutonium, and lead are toxic metals that have no known vital or beneficial effect on organisms, and their accumulation over time in the bodies of animals can cause serious illness. Certain elements that are normally toxic are for certain organisms or under certain conditions, beneficial. Examples include vanadium, tungsten, and even cadmium. [1],[11] The Types of heavy metals and their effect on human health with their permissible limits are enumerated in [Table 1].
Table 1: Types of heavy metals and their effect on human health with their permissible limits

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Heavy metals disrupt metabolic functions in two ways:

  1. They accumulate and thereby disrupt function in vital organs and glands such as the heart, brain, kidneys, bone, liver, etc.
  2. They displace the vital nutritional minerals from their original place, thereb, hindering their biological function. It is, however, impossible to live in an environment free of heavy metals. There are many ways by which these toxins can be introduced into the body such as consumption of foods, beverages, skin exposure, and the inhaled air. [1]
Plants experience oxidative stress upon exposure to heavy metals that leads to cellular damage and disturbance of cellular ionic homeostasis. To minimize the detrimental effects of heavy metal exposure and their accumulation, plants have evolved detoxification mechanisms mainly based on chelation and subcellular compartmentalization. A principal class of heavy metal chelator known in plants is phytochelatins (PCs), are synthesized no--translationally from reduced glutathione (GSH) in a transpeptidation reaction catalyzed by the enzyme phytochelatin synthase (PCS). Therefore, availability of glutathione is very essential for PCs synthesis in plants at least during their exposure to heavy metals. [12]

On investigating the heavy metal and soil solution chemical changes at field moisture, after growth of either Indian mustard (Brassica juncea) or sunflower (Helianthus annus L.), in lon--term contaminated soils and the subsequent metal uptake by the selected plants, it was reported that soluble Cd and Zn decreased after Indian mustard growth in all soils, and this was attributed to increases in soil solution pH (by 0.9 units) after plant growth. Concentrations of soluble Cu and Pb decreased in acidic soils but increased in alkaline soils, hyper accumulator plants have been shown to either acidify rhizosphere soils and subsequently increase the dissolved concentrations of heavy metals or increase soil pH after plant growth. Increased pH and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) interacted antagonistically with regard to increased metal concentrations in solution. In the acidic soils (pH 6.5), the effect of pH increases was stronger than that of DOC increases, resulting in an overall decrease in dissolved metal concentrations in these soils. In contrast, the increased DOC after plant growth increased dissolved metal concentrations in the alkaline soils. Chemical changes in the rhizosphere also played an important role in controlling the speciation of metals in soil solution. Changes in dissolved metal concentrations and species greatly influenced metal uptake by plants. Plant uptake was primarily related to the concentrations of metals in the soil solution rather than total metal concentrations of the soil. [13]


 » Heavy Metals and Environmental Pollution Top


Metal concentration in soil typically ranges from less than one to as high as 100,000 mg/kg. [7] Heavy metals are the main group of inorganic contaminants and a considerable large area o land i contaminated with them due to use of sludge or municipal compost, pesticides, fertilizers, and emissions from municipal wastes incinerates, exudates, residues from metalliferous mines and smelting industries. [14] Irrespective of the origin of the metals in the soil, excessive levels of many metals can result in soil quality degradation, crop yield reduction, and poor quality of agricultural products, posing significant hazards to human, animal, and ecosystem health. [7] Therefore, it becomes essential to remove the accumulated metals. Various processes for removal of heavy metals are shown in [Table 2]. The removal of single heavy metals like Co and Zn from aqueous solutions using various lo-cost adsorbents (Fe 2 O 3 , Fe 3 O 4 , FeS, steel wool, Mg pellets, Cu pellets, Zn pellets, Al pellets, Fe pellets, and coal) was investigated. Th solution pH on metal adsorption using Fe 2 O 3 and Fe 3 O 4 was significantly effective, and the removal was p-independent over the entire pH range studied (1.5-9.0). [15] Mechanisms proposed to be involved in transition metal accumulation by plants are phytoaccumulation, phytoextraction, phytovolatilization, phytodegradation, and phytostabilization [Figure 1]. [6]
Figure 1: Transition mechanism in plants for metal accumulation

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Table 2: Various processes for removal of heavy metals

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The permissible limits for heavy metals in plant species as per Indian Pharmacopoeia 2007 guidelines are given in [Table 3]. [1] Research indicates that Nitric Oxide (NO) is involved in the regulation of multiple plant responses to a variety of abiotic and biotic stresses. NO helps plants resist heavy metal stress, first, by indirectly scavenging heavy meta--induced Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), It might be involved in increasing the antioxidant content and antioxidative enzyme activity in plants. Second, by affecting root cell wall components it might increase heavy metal accumulation in root cell walls and decrease heavy metal accumulation in the soluble fraction of leaves in plants. Finally, it could function as a signaling molecule in the cascade of events leading to changes in gene expression under heavy metal stresses. [16]
Table 3: Permissible limits for plant species adopted from Singh MR. Impurities-heavy metals: IR Prespective, 2007[1]

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 » Heavy Metals Contamination of Vegetables Top


Heavy metal contamination of vegetables cannot be underestimated as these foodstufs are important components of human diet. Vegetables are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and fibers, and also have beneficial antioxidative effects. However, intake of heavy meta-contaminated vegetables may pose a risk to the human health. Heavy metal contamination of food is one of the most important aspects of food quality assurance. Heavy metals are no-biodegradable and persistent environmental contaminants, which may be deposited on the surfaces and then absorbed into the tissues of vegetables. Monitoring and assessment of heavy metals concentrations in the vegetables from the market sites have been carried out in some developed and developing countries. [17]


 » Heavy Metals and Polymers Top


Metal ions are not only valuable intermediates in metal extraction, but also important raw materials for technical applications. Complexation, separation, and removal of metal ions have become increasingly attractive areas of research and have led to new technological developments. Meta--chelating and ion exchange polymers were used in hydrometallurgical applications such as recovery of rare metal ions from seawater and removal of traces of radioactive metal ions from wastes. A polymeric ligand is used to selectively bind a specific metal ion in a mixture to isolate important metal ions from wastewater and aqueous media.dIt is usually used in an insoluble resin form to separate a specific metal ion from a liquid containing a mixture of metal ions. For example, uranium is a potential environmental pollutant, especially in mining industry wastewater, and the migration of uranium in nature is important in this context. Many types of adsorbents were developed and studied for the recovery of uranium from seawater and aqueous media. Among them, amidoxime group containing adsorbents were shown to be the most effective for the recovery of uranium from seawater and aqueous media. The unique advantage of these polymers is that due to its unique chemical structure, it recovers uranium and other transition metal ions from seawater, and aqueous media at very low concentration levels more efficiently. [18] Aspergillus niger immobilized by inclusion in two different polymers: polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel (PVA) and Ca alginate. A. niger biomass absorbed Fe 3+ , Pb 2+ , and Cd 2+ ions from industrial wastewater more rapidly than other ions within 15 to 20 min. The removal percentages order at equilibrium reported was: Cd 2+ (95%) > Pb 2+ (88%) > Fe 3+ (70%) > Cu 2+ (60%) > Ni 2+ (48.9%) > Mn 2+ (37.7%) > Zn 2+ (15.4%). The results showed that immobilized biomass of A. niger, appears as a possible biosorbent to be used for treatment of meta-polluted industrial wastewaters. [19] Efficiency of metal removal depended on the concentration of the metal as well as that of the biosurfactant. In evaluation of a microbial surfactant of marine origin for the remediation of heavy metals, the test anionic surfactant was capable of binding to metal ions even at concentrations lower than its carboxy methyl cellulose (CMC). At five times multiple of its CMC, it was capable of removing nearly the whole metal content. The property of this microbial product to chelate toxic heavy metals and form an insoluble precipitate, may find tremendous application in treatment of heavy metal containing wastewater. [20]


 » Heavy Metals and Ecosystem Top


Heavy metal contaminations of land resources continue to be the focus of numerous environmental studies and attract a great deal of attention worldwide. This is attributed to no--biodegradability and persistence of heavy metals in soils. In order to identify spatial relationship of heavy metals in soil-rice system at a regional scale, 96 pairs of rice and soil samples were collected from Wenling in Zhejiang province, China, which is one of the wel--known electronic and electric waste recycling centers. The results indicated some studied areas had potential contaminations by heavy metals, especially by Cd. The spatial distribution of Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn illustrated that the highest concentrations were located in the northwest areas and the accumulation of these metals may be due to the industrialization, agricultural chemicals and other human activities. [21] Municipal solid waste (MSW) fly ash is classified as a hazardous material because it contains high amounts of heavy metals. For decontamination, MSW fly ash is first mixed with alkali or alkaline earth metal chlorides (e.g., calcium chloride) and water, and then the mixture is pelletized and treated in a rotary reactor at about 1000 0 C. More than 90% of Cd and Pb and about 60% of Cu and 80% of Zn could be removed in the experiments. [22] Among various water purification and recycling technologies, adsorption is a simple, inexpensive, and universal method. Spent grain is an abundantly available brewing industrial waste generated in the mashing process. Spent grain is a lignocellulosic biomass, which mainly consists of hemicellulose (30-35%), cellulose (23-25%), and lignin (7-8%). In principle, citric acid can directly interact with the hydroxyl groups of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin in spent grain by esterification, which produced an effective adsorbent (ESG), suitable for adsorption of heavy metal ions which can be utilized as a new lo--cost adsorbent for heavy metal ions removal. [23] Phytoremediation crop disposal is a problem inhibiting the widespread use of the remediation technique. Flash pyrolysis as processing method for metal contaminated biomass, low pyrolysis temperature prevents metal compounds from volatilisation while valuable pyrolysis oil is produced. Biomass and pyrolysis products are analysed with the focus on the metal distribution; target elements include Zn, Cd, Pb and Cu. IC--AES measurements confirm very low levels of metals in pyrolysis oil produced at 623 K (Cu and Zn <5 ppm; Cd and Pb <1 ppm) with almost all of the metals accumulated in the char/ash residue. Pyrolysis mass and energy balances are determined providing information in view of future valorisation purposes Flash pyrolysis ca offer a valuable processing method for heavy metal contaminated biomass, thus limiting the waste disposal problem associated with phytoremediation. [24] Lead and Zn uptake and chemical changes in rhizosphere soils of four emergen--rooted wetland plants; Aneilema bracteatum, Cyperus alternifolius, Ludwigia hyssopifolia and Veronica serpyllifolia were investigated. The results showed that the wetland plants with different Radial Oxygen Loss (ROL) rates had significant effects on the mobility and chemical forms of Pb and Zn in rhizosphere under flooded conditions. For Pb, as a no--essential element, the wetland plants are able to decrease its mobility in both "clean" soil (with lower Pb) and polluted soil (and higher Pb); while for Zn, as an essential element, the plants are able to increase its mobility in "clean" soil (with lower Zn), but decrease its mobility in polluted soil (with higher Zn). Among the four plants, V. serpyllifolia, with the highest ROL, formed the highest degree of Fe plaque on the root surface, immobilized more Zn in Fe plaque, and has the highest effects on the changes of Zn form in rhizosphere under both "clean" and contaminated soil conditions. These results suggested that ROL of wetland plants could play an important role in Fe plaque formation and mobility and chemical changes of metals in rhizosphere soil under flood conditions. [25]

The sewage sludge used in a study which had high content of organic C, available nutrients and heavy metals, its amendment led to higher concentrations of organic carbon, total N, available P and exchangeable Na + , K + , Ca 2+ and Mg 2+ in plants. This increases the beneficial utilization of sewage sludge for agriculture. [26] High contents of organic matter and nutrients make sewage sludge a perfect material for fertilization and recultivation of degraded soils. In the case of all sludges (in the proportion of 6%), a stimulating influence on seed germination was observed and inhibiting influence of sludges on germination and root growth observed in the case of cress (L. sativum) and barley (Hordeum vulgare). Toxic levels of heavy metals in the soil are responsible for the reduced chlorophyll content of the plants growing in polluted areas. After composting of sewage sludges, positively influences on the growth and development of L. sativum were noted. [27] The alternative aaerobic and aerobic composting of sewage sludge with organic garbage is a good way for improving the characteristics of sludge for the reuse and application in comparison with sewage sludge, the concentrations of heavy metals in the compost, such as Cu, Ni, Cd, Cr, Pb, and Zn, would decrease because of the dilution and fermentation. The results of the uptake of heavy metals by watercress show that the accumulation of Cu, Ni, Cd, Cr, Pb, and Zn in the crop is much lower than that required by the limited levels of Chinese criteria for vegetables. Watercress is a proper plant to be used in amended kailyard (KY) soil with compost of sewage sludge without any threat of bi--magnification of heavy metals. [28] Mangrove wetlands are important in the removal of nutrients, heavy metals, and organic pollutants from wastewater within estuarine systems due to the presence of oxidized and reduced conditions, periodic flooding by incoming and outgoing tides, and high clay and organic matter content. Study suggested that mangrove wetlands with Sonneratia apetala Buc--Ham species had great potential for the removal of nutrients and heavy metals in coastal areas. Wetland plants not only take up nutrients (e.g., N and P) and heavy metals, but also control the ventilation and microbial conditions in the wetland bed. The amount of total biomass for Sonneratia apetala Buc--Ham increased with wastewater nutrient concentrations, while the magnitude of heavy metal contents in the biomass was in the following order: Cu > Pb > Cd > Zn. Very good linear correlations existed between the biomass and the nutrients or heavy metals. In general, more than 98% of the heavy metals in the wastewater were removed by the soil and the rest of about 2% heavy metals were removed by the plant. This concluded that the Sonneratia apetala Buc--Ham species was more effective in the removal of nutrients than heavy metals. [29]


 » Evidence in Support of Heavy Metals Top


Heavy metals are toxic, but their oxides are usually not. Food and Drug Administration has approved arsenic trioxide to be used in Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL). [30] There are some reports published on the harmful effects of ayurvedic Bhasmas of Indian system of medicine. Actually the Bhasmas can be toxic or harmful to humans only if they are not prepared in the correct manner. [31] The preparations are then prescribed with certain Anupanas (accompaniments), e.g., ginger or cumin water, tulsi extract, etc. that have been shown to protect against unwanted toxicity due to varied reasons, [32],[33] including high proportions of trace elements and synergistic or protective effects due to buffering between various constituents. As per Ayurveda, the bioavailability and toxicity of the metals depend on their chemical forms, especially of mercury, although some authors could not ascertain it experimentally. [34],[35] An example of non-toxicity of ayurvedically processed (as suggested in Shastras) so-called toxic herbs are given as: crude aconite at 2.5 mg/mouse produces 100% mortality. ayurvedically processed aconite (compound A) the root of the plant was boiled with two parts of cow's urine for 7 hours per day for two consecutive days. The root was then thoroughly washed with water and boiled with two parts of cow's milk for the same duration. Processed aconite (compound B) processed only in cow's urine for 7 hr per day for 2 consecutive days. Aconite processed only in cow's milk for the same duration (compound C) was also considered safe at 20 mgs. The study exhibited that compound A was totally non toxic followed by compound B and C, respectively, which were also reported to be safer than crude aconite. [31]

Mercurous mercury, also called calomel, was used as diuretic, antiseptic, skin ointment, vitiligo, and laxative for centuries. Calomel was also used in traditional medicines, but now these uses have largely been replaced by safer therapies. Other preparations containing mercury are still used as antibacterials. [36] Rasa shastra experts claim that these medicines, if properly prepared and administered, are safe and therapeutic. Navbal Rasayan (NR) a metal based ayurvedic formulation is used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis; study with NR in animals does not show any toxic effect. However, decrease or attenuation of agonistic activities of histamine, acetylcholine and serotonin needs further exploration. [37] Two gold preparations, ayurvedic Swarna Bhasma and unani Kushta Tila Kalan are claimed to possess general tonic, hepatotonic, nervine tonic, cardiostimulant, aphrodisiac, detoxicant, antiinfective and antiaging properties. [38],[39] In modern medicine, gold compounds (e.g., gold disodium thiomalate and auranofin) have been used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis for more than sixty years with well documented effects on immune function. [40] Marked analgesic (elicited through opioidergic mechanisms) and immunostimulant effects of these preparations with a wide margin of safety have been reported. [41] Anticataleptic, antianxiety, and antidepressant properties are also observed. [42]

Tamra Bhasma, a metallic ayurvedic preparation, is a time-tested medicine in ayurveda and is in clinical use for various ailments specifically the free radical mediated diseases. Studies show that Tamra Bhasma inhibits lipid peroxidation (LPO), prevents the rate of aerial oxidation of reduced glutathione (GSH) content and induces the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) in rat liver homogenate in the biphasic manner. [43] Tamra Bhasma is recommended in the dose of 10 mg to 30 mg for an adult (70 kg body weight; 0.2 mg/kg) to manage liver disorders, gastro-intestinal tract (GIT) disorders, old age diseases, leucoderma, cardiac problems, and various other free radical-mediated disorders, either alone or as herbo-mineral compositions. [44],[45] Apart from all these, there are natural agents, which lead to absorption of heavy metals are shown in [Table 4]. [46]
Table 4: Heavy metal absorbing capability of various natural agents adopted from Karnika et al Biosorption: An eco-friendly alternative for heavy metal removal, 2007[46]

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Deficiency of copper in the body causes weight loss, bone disorders, microcytic hypochromic anaemia, hypopigmentation, graying of hair and demyelination of nerves etc. [47] It is reported that Tamra Bhasma potentiates the antioxidant activity of animals, when given orally treated animals showed less degree of lipid peroxidation. Results clearly indicated that Tamra Bhasma does have antioxidant property in low doses, without any side effect, even up to 90 days of treatment in the dose of 5 mg/kg body weight. However in higher doses, when given for a longer period, it induced lipid peroxidation, without any effect on the rate of survival but these tested doses are much higher than the human therapeutic doses. [43],[48] [Table 5] illustrates the effect of Tamra Bhasma on the survival of albino rats up to 30 days. [43]
Table 5: Effect of Tamra Bhasma on the survival of albino rats up to 30 days adopted from Pattanaik N. Toxicology and free radicals scavenging property of Tamra Bhasma 2003.[43]

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Heavy metals may exert their acute and chronic effects on the human skin through stress signals. Findings suggest that heavy metals reduced the phosphorylation level of small heat shock protein 27(HSP27), and that the ratio of p-HSP27 and HSP27 may be a sensitive marker or additional endpoint for the hazard assessment of potential skin irritation caused by chemicals and their products. [49]


 » Contradictory Claims about the Effect of Heavy Metals Top


It is generally believed that herbal and natural products are safer than the synthetic or modern medicines but even some indigenous herbal products contain heavy metals as essential ingredients. Thus the expanded use of herbal medicine has led to concerns relating to its safety, quality, and effectiveness especially for Bhasmas as these are usually made of heavy metals like arsenic, mercury, copper, zinc, gold, and silver. Therefore, contamination of herbal drugs with heavy metals is of prime concern. Prolonged exposure to heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc can cause deleterious health effects in humans. [50] Although many of traditional remedies are used safely, there have recently been an increasing number of case reports being published of heavy metal poisoning after the use of traditional remedies, in particular, Indian ayurvedic remedies. [51] These were started extensively after the study showed high levels of lead, mercury and arsenic found in ayurvedic products sold in US, [52] and this lead to a strong evidence for further quality and safety issues. The Indian population who frequent purchase ayurvedic herbal supplements, Bhasmas and Rasa, may not have understood that the traditional formulation contained heavy metals requiring special care and supervision. Inhalation of mercury vapour produces acute corrosive bronchitis and interstitial pneumonitis and, if not fatal, may be associated with central nervous system effects such as tremor or increased excitability. [34],[53] Inhalation of large amounts of mercury vapour can be fatal. With chronic exposure to mercury vapour, the major effects are on the central nervous system. The triad of tremors, gingivitis and erethism (memory loss, increased excitability, insomnia, depression, and shyness) has been recognized historically as the major manifestation of mercury poisoning from inhalation of mercury vapor. Sporadic instances of proteinuria and even nephrotic syndrome may occur in persons with exposure to mercury vapour, particularly with chronic occupational exposure. [34],[53] Methyl mercury crosses the placenta and reaches the fetus, and is concentrated in the fetal brain at least 5 to 7 times that of maternal blood. [36] The adverse effects of gold salts particularly on prolonged use (nephrotoxic, bone marrow depression, cutaneous reactions, and blood dyscriasis etc.) are well documented. [40] The preparations under study are not gold salts but calcined preparations of gold used in Ayurveda (SB) and Unani-Tibb (KTK) and involve incorporation of herbal juices (Aloe vera, Dolichos uniflorus, Rosa damascena), minerals (mercury, sulfur) and animal origin ingredients (whey, cow's urine) during the ashing process. [38],[39] They constitute unidentified complexes of the metal which may not have properties and biological effects akin to gold salts. Kushta Tila Kalan (KTK) and Swarna Bhasma (SB) reported to produce immunostimulant, rather than immunosuppressant actions and analgesic actions, without descernible untoward effects at the doses used. [42]


 » Conclusion Top


Worldwide debate is on for the use of ayurvedic metallic preparations. The use of herbal medicine, the dominant form of treatment in developing countries has been increasing in recent years. [50] Some of the herbs selectively absorb and accumulate the heavy metals from the soils, which in turn can be utilized to decontaminate the soils . Several metallic preparations are in clinical use since 12 th century. They have specific methods for their detoxification and Bhasma preparation, which becomes suitable for clinical use in therapeutic doses. Since centuries these preparations are sustaining themselves in use, therefore one can not just simply write off its usage just by assuming that heavy metals are toxic. Proper scientific documentation is the demand of time to validate the claims about these metallic preparations and also to ascertain whether the conventional Shodhan (purification) process of ayurveda is being properly followed or not. Post controversy reports, it has now been made mandatory (WHO guidelines) that herbal products should be tested for their heavy metal content prior to export so that heavy metals remain within permissible limits.

 
 » References Top

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    Figures

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    Tables

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67 Feldspar-banana peel composite adsorbent for efficient crude oil removal from solution
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68 Synthesis and Application of Modified Orchard Waste Biochar for Efficient Scavenging of Copper from Aqueous Solutions
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69 On the Mechanisms of Heavy Metal-Induced Neurotoxicity: Amelioration by Plant Products
Nitika Singh, Bechan Sharma
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, India Section B: Biological Sciences. 2021;
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70 Phytoremediation of heavy metals contaminated water and soils from artisanal mining enclave using Heliconia psittacorum
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71 Profile distribution and soil health implication of some oxides in agrarian soils overlying geologic formations in Southeast Nigeria
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72 Biosorption of Heavy Metals from Water onto Phenolic Foams Based on Tannins and Lignin Alkaline Liquor
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73 The performance of an inexpensive spark-induced breakdown spectroscopy instrument for near real-time analysis of toxic metal particles
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74 Anthropogenic influence on seasonal and spatial variation in bioelements and non-essential elements in honeybees and their hemolymph
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75 Recent advances in adsorptive removal of heavy metal and metalloid ions by metal oxide-based nanomaterials
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76 A meta-analysis of metal biosorption by suspended bacteria from three phyla
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77 The role of antibiotics and heavy metals on the development, promotion, and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance in drinking water biofilms
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78 ZnO Nanoadsorbents: A potent material for removal of heavy metal ions from wastewater
Vikas Dhiman, Neha Kondal
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79 A review on enterosorbents and their application in clinical practice: Removal of toxic metals
Sevda Fatullayeva, Dilgam Tagiyev, Nizami Zeynalov
Colloid and Interface Science Communications. 2021; 45: 100545
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80 Mycoremediation of environmental pollutants: a review with special emphasis on mushrooms
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81 Exploring the environmental traits and applications of Klebsiella variicola
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Brazilian Journal of Microbiology. 2021; 52(4): 2233
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82 Efficacy of multi-walled carbon nanotubes in regulating growth performance, total glutathione and redox state of Calendula officinalis L. cultivated on Pb and Cd polluted soil
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83 Quantitative source apportionment of heavy metals in cultivated soil and associated model uncertainty
Lei Chai, Yuhong Wang, Xin Wang, Liang Ma, Zhenxiang Cheng, Limin Su, Minxia Liu
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84 Heavy metals accumulation in aquatic macrophytes from an urban lake in Kashmir Himalaya, India
Masarat Nabi
Environmental Nanotechnology, Monitoring & Management. 2021; 16: 100509
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85 Heavy metal pollution in the soil-vegetable system of Tannery Estate
Md. Mokarom Hossain, Md. Arif Chowdhury, Md. Jawad Hasan, Md. Harun-Ar Rashid, Thamina Acter, M. Nuruzzaman Khan, Sheikh Mahatabuddin, Nizam Uddin
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86 Efficient removal of heavy metals from artificial wastewater using biochar
Arpita Roy, Navneeta Bharadvaja
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87 Application of the dry and wet biomass of bryophytes for phytoremediation of metals: Batch experiments
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88 Psychosocial status modifies the effect of maternal blood metal and metalloid concentrations on birth outcomes
Pahriya Ashrap, Amira Aker, Deborah J. Watkins, Bhramar Mukherjee, Zaira Rosario-Pabón, Carmen M. Vélez-Vega, Akram Alshawabkeh, José F. Cordero, John D. Meeker
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89 Exposure of calcium carbide induces apoptosis in mammalian fibroblast L929 cells
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90 Global impact of trace non-essential heavy metal contaminants in industrial cannabis bioeconomy
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91 Heavy Metals in Indian Traditional Systems of Medicine: A Systematic Scoping Review and Recommendations for Integrative Medicine Practice
Sanchari Mukhopadhyay, Shalu Elizabeth Abraham, Bharath Holla, Kishore Kr Ramakrishna, Kamala Lakshmi Gopalakrishna, Akhila Soman, Umesh C. Chikkanna, Muchukunte Mukunda Srinivas Bharath, Hemant Bhargav, Shivarama Varambally, Bangalore Nanjundaiah Gangadhar
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92 Modern nanobiotechnologies for efficient detection and remediation of mercury
Mulayam Singh Gaur, Rajni Yadav, Mamta Kushwah, Anna Nikolaevna Berlina
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93 Metalloids in plants: A systematic discussion beyond description
Nishat Parveen, Roberto Berni, Sreeja Sudhakaran, Javaid A. Bhat, Suhas Shinde, Naleeni Ramawat, Vijay P. Singh, Shivendra Sahi, Rupesh Deshmukh, Devendra K. Chauhan, Durgesh Kumar Tripathi
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94 A preliminary assessment of metal/metalloid levels in wild and farmed turbot ( Scophthalmus maximus ) and risks imposed on human health
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95 Effects of different heat treatment and radiation (microwave and infrared) sources on minerals and heavy metal contents of cow's milk
Bekir Guney, Suleyman Gokmen
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96 21-Day dermal exposure to aircraft engine oils: effects on esterase activities in brain and liver tissues, blood, plasma, and clinical chemistry parameters for Sprague Dawley rats
Isaie Sibomana, Joyce G. Rohan, David R. Mattie
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A. 2021; 84(9): 357
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97 Phytotoxicity of Heavy Metals in Contaminated Podzolic Soils of Different Fertility Levels
V. A. Terekhova, E. V. Prudnikova, A. P. Kiryushina, M. M. Karpukhin, I. O. Plekhanova, O. S. Yakimenko
Eurasian Soil Science. 2021; 54(6): 964
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98 Production of high-performance lead(II) ions adsorbents from pea peels waste as a sustainable resource
Viktoriia Novoseltseva, Halyna Yankovych, Olena Kovalenko, Miroslava Václavíková, Inna Melnyk
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99 Synthesis, spectroscopic properties, crystal structures, DFT studies, and the antibacterial and enzyme inhibitory properties of a complex of Co(II) 3,5-difluorobenzoate with 3-pyridinol
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100 A Review on Biosensors and Nanosensors Application in Agroecosystems
Pankaj Sharma, Vimal Pandey, Mayur Mukut Murlidhar Sharma, Anupam Patra, Baljinder Singh, Sahil Mehta, Azamal Husen
Nanoscale Research Letters. 2021; 16(1)
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101 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LEAD AND CADMIUM LEVELS IN BLOOD AND REFRACTORY CHRONIC CONSTIPATION AMONG IRANIAN CHILDREN
Nasrin GHARIBSHAHI, Hazhir JAVAHERIZADEH, Zahra Nazari KHORASGANI, Masoud MAHDAVINIA
Arquivos de Gastroenterologia. 2021; 58(3): 329
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102 Performance, Phyto-nutritional and Bio-active substances of Sweet Pepper (Capsicum annum) in response to Soil Applied Organic and Inorganic Sources of N Fertilizers
Christopher M. Aboyeji, Oluwagbenga Dunsin, Opeyemi A. Ajayi, Gideon O. Agbaje, Aruna O. Adekiya, Ojo T. Vincent Adebiyi, Adeniyi T. Olayanju, Temidayo A. J. Olofintoye
The Open Agriculture Journal. 2021; 15(1): 39
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103 Mathematical model of transmembrane potential dynamics of loach early embryogenesis
G. V. Galyk, Z. Y. Fedorovych, E. I. Lychkovsky, Z. D. Vorobets
Regulatory Mechanisms in Biosystems. 2021; 12(1): 58
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104 Heavy metal tolerance of filamentous fungi from the sediments of Visayas State University wastewater pond
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Annals of Tropical Research. 2021; : 88
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105 Elemental Impurities in Pediatric Calcium Carbonate Preparations-High Throughput Quantification and Risk Assessment
Chaoqiang Xiao, Li Zhu, Xia Zhang, Rumeng Gao, Shuwang He, Zhihua Lv, Changqin Hu
Frontiers in Chemistry. 2021; 9
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106 Heavy Metals in Soils and the Remediation Potential of Bacteria Associated With the Plant Microbiome
Sarah González Henao, Thaura Ghneim-Herrera
Frontiers in Environmental Science. 2021; 9
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107 Descriptive Analysis of Heavy Metals Content of Beef From Eastern Uganda and Their Safety for Public Consumption
Keneth Iceland Kasozi, Yunusu Hamira, Gerald Zirintunda, Khalaf F. Alsharif, Farag M. A. Altalbawy, Justine Ekou, Andrew Tamale, Kevin Matama, Fred Ssempijja, Robert Muyinda, Francis Kawooya, Theophilus Pius, Hellen Kisakye, Paul Bogere, Henry Matovu, Leonard Omadang, Patrick Etiang, Joseph Mbogua, Juma John Ochieng, Lawrence Obado Osuwat, Regan Mujinya, Gaber El-Saber Batiha, Ochan Otim
Frontiers in Nutrition. 2021; 8
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108 Maternal Urinary Metal and Metalloid Concentrations in Association with Oxidative Stress Biomarkers
Pahriya Ashrap, Deborah J. Watkins, Ginger L. Milne, Kelly K. Ferguson, Rita Loch-Caruso, Jennifer Fernandez, Zaira Rosario, Carmen M. Vélez-Vega, Akram Alshawabkeh, José F. Cordero, John D. Meeker
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109 Green Synthesis and Biomedical Applications of ZnO Nanoparticles: Role of PEGylated-ZnO Nanoparticles as Doxorubicin Drug Carrier against MDA-MB-231(TNBC) Cells Line
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110 Detection, Distribution and Health Risk Assessment of Toxic Heavy Metals/Metalloids, Arsenic, Cadmium, and Lead in Goat Carcasses Processed for Human Consumption in South-Eastern Nigeria
Emmanuel O. Njoga, Ekene V. Ezenduka, Chiazor G. Ogbodo, Chukwuka U. Ogbonna, Ishmael F. Jaja, Anthony C. Ofomatah, Charles Odilichukwu R. Okpala
Foods. 2021; 10(4): 798
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111 Metal Contents in Fish from the Bay of Bengal and Potential Consumer Exposure—The EAF-Nansen Programme
Amalie Moxness Reksten, Zillur Rahman, Marian Kjellevold, Esther Garrido Gamarro, Shakuntala H. Thilsted, Lauren M. Pincus, Inger Aakre, John Ryder, Sujeewa Ariyawansa, Anna Nordhagen, Anne-Katrine Lundebye
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112 Nutritional Quality of the Most Consumed Varieties of Raw and Cooked Rice in Spain Submitted to an In Vitro Digestion Model
José Raúl Aguilera-Velázquez, Pilar Carbonero-Aguilar, Irene Martín-Carrasco, María Gracia Hinojosa, Isabel Moreno, Juan Bautista
Foods. 2021; 10(11): 2584
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113 Toxic Metals (As, Cd, Ni, Pb) Impact in the Most Common Medicinal Plant (Mentha piperita)
Cristina Dinu, Stefania Gheorghe, Anda Gabriela Tenea, Catalina Stoica, Gabriela-Geanina Vasile, Roxana Luisa Popescu, Ecaterina Anca Serban, Luoana Florentina Pascu
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(8): 3904
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114 Biochar Mediated-Alleviation of Chromium Stress and Growth Improvement of Different Maize Cultivars in Tannery Polluted Soils
Muhammad Asaad Bashir, Xiukang Wang, Muhammad Naveed, Adnan Mustafa, Sobia Ashraf, Tayyaba Samreen, Sajid Mahmood Nadeem, Moazzam Jamil
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(9): 4461
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115 Adsorptive and Coagulative Removal of Trace Metals from Water Using Surface Modified Sawdust-Based Cellulose Nanocrystals
Opeyemi A. Oyewo, Sam Ramaila, Lydia Mavuru, Taile Leswifi, Maurice S. Onyango
J. 2021; 4(2): 193
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116 Arbuscular Mycorrhizae Mitigate Aluminum Toxicity and Regulate Proline Metabolism in Plants Grown in Acidic Soil
Modhi O. Alotaibi, Ahmed M. Saleh, Renato L. Sobrinho, Mohamed S. Sheteiwy, Ahmed M. El-Sawah, Afrah E. Mohammed, Hamada Abd Elgawad
Journal of Fungi. 2021; 7(7): 531
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117 Sustainable Removal of Contaminants by Biopolymers: A Novel Approach for Wastewater Treatment. Current State and Future Perspectives
Teresa Russo, Pierpaolo Fucile, Rosa Giacometti, Filomena Sannino
Processes. 2021; 9(4): 719
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118 Eco-Friendly Reduced Graphene Oxide Nanofilter Preparation and Application for Iron Removal
Pankaj Kumar Jha, Watsa Khongnakorn, Chamorn Chawenjkigwanich, Md Shahariar Chowdhury, Kuaanan Techato
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119 The Improved Phytoextraction of Heavy Metals and the Growth of Trifolium repens L.: The Role of K2HEDP and Plant Growth Regulators Alone and in Combination
Anna Makarova, Elena Nikulina, Tatiana Avdeenkova, Ksenia Pishaeva
Sustainability. 2021; 13(5): 2432
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120 Phytoremediation of Heavy Metals in Tropical Soils an Overview
Beatriz E. Guerra Sierra, Jaider Muñoz Guerrero, Serge Sokolski
Sustainability. 2021; 13(5): 2574
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121 The Occurrence, Pathways, and Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Raw Milk from Industrial Areas in China
Chuanyou Su, Yanan Gao, Xueyin Qu, Xuewei Zhou, Xue Yang, Shengnan Huang, Lei Han, Nan Zheng, Jiaqi Wang
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122 Cadmium Accumulation and Kinetics in Solea senegalensis Tissues under Dietary and Water Exposure and the Link to Human Health
Maria D. Pavlaki, Rui G. Morgado, Violeta Ferreira, Rui J. M. Rocha, Amadeu M. V. M. Soares, Ricardo Calado, Susana Loureiro
Water. 2021; 13(4): 522
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123 A Short Review on Recent Advances of Hydrogel-Based Adsorbents for Heavy Metal Ions
Suguna Perumal, Raji Atchudan, Thomas Nesakumar Jebakumar Immanuel Edison, Rajendran Suresh Babu, Petchimuthu Karpagavinayagam, Chinnapiyan Vedhi
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124 Metal Accumulation by Jatropha curcas L. Adult Plants Grown on Heavy Metal-Contaminated Soil
Juan Francisco García Martín, María del Carmen González Caro, María del Carmen López Barrera, Miguel Torres García, Douglas Barbin, Paloma Álvarez Mateos
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125 Phytoremediation technology for removal of heavy metals: A brief review
Geetanjali Singh, Ram Singh
American Journal of Environmental Biology. 2020; : 25
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126 Adsorption and desorption studies of <i>Delonix regia</i> pods and leaves: removal and recovery of Ni(II) and Cu(II) ions from aqueous solution
Bolanle M. Babalola, Adegoke O. Babalola, Cecilia O. Akintayo, Olayide S. Lawal, Sunday F. Abimbade, Ekemena O. Oseghe, Lukman S. Akinola, Olushola S. Ayanda
Drinking Water Engineering and Science. 2020; 13(2): 15
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127 The current knowledge gap on metallothionein mediated metal-detoxification in Elasmobranchs
Rachel Ann Hauser-Davis
PeerJ. 2020; 8: e10293
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128 Phytoremediation Potential of Zea mays L. and Panicum coloratum L. on Hydrocarbon Polluted Soils
F.A. Anukwa, E.M. Onuoha, A. Nkang, J. Nkereuwem
International Journal of Botany. 2020; 17(1): 1
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129 Investigating the Properties of Cetyltrimethylammonium Bromide/Hydroxylated Graphene Quantum Dots Thin Film for Potential Optical Detection of Heavy Metal Ions
Nur Ain Asyiqin Anas, Yap Wing Fen, Nor Azah Yusof, Nur Alia Sheh Omar, Nur Syahira Md Ramdzan, Wan Mohd Ebtisyam Mustaqim Mohd Daniyal
Materials. 2020; 13(11): 2591
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130 Fungal Endophytes for Grass Based Bioremediation: An Endophytic Consortium Isolated from Agrostis stolonifera Stimulates the Growth of Festuca arundinacea in Lead Contaminated Soil
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131 Methylmercury Poisoning Induces Cardiac Electrical Remodeling and Increases Arrhythmia Susceptibility and Mortality
Mara Cristina P. Santos Ruybal, Monica Gallego, Thais Bazoti B. Sottani, Emiliano H. Medei, Oscar Casis, Jose Hamilton M. Nascimento
International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020; 21(10): 3490
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132 Copper Dyshomeostasis in Neurodegenerative Diseases—Therapeutic Implications
Grazyna Gromadzka, Beata Tarnacka, Anna Flaga, Agata Adamczyk
International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020; 21(23): 9259
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133 Nutrient and Chemical Contaminant Levels in Five Marine Fish Species from Angola—The EAF-Nansen Programme
Amalie Moxness Reksten, Avelina M. Joao Correia Victor, Edia Baptista Nascimento Neves, Sofie Myhre Christiansen, Molly Ahern, Abimbola Uzomah, Anne-Katrine Lundebye, Jeppe Kolding, Marian Kjellevold
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134 Anthropogenic Effects of Coal Mining on Ecological Resources of the Central Indus Basin, Pakistan
Abdul Jabbar Khan, Gulraiz Akhter, Hamza Farooq Gabriel, Muhammad Shahid
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(4): 1255
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135 Human Health Risk Assessment and Potentially Harmful Element Contents in the Cereals Cultivated on Agricultural Soils
Agnieszka Gruszecka-Kosowska
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136 A Review of Pathogens, Diseases, and Contaminants of Muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) in North America
Laken S. Ganoe, Justin D. Brown, Michael J. Yabsley, Matthew J. Lovallo, W. David Walter
Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 2020; 7
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137 Heavy Metal Toxicity in Armed Conflicts Potentiates AMR in A. baumannii by Selecting for Antibiotic and Heavy Metal Co-resistance Mechanisms
Wael Bazzi, Antoine G. Abou Fayad, Aya Nasser, Louis-Patrick Haraoui, Omar Dewachi, Ghassan Abou-Sitta, Vinh-Kim Nguyen, Aula Abara, Nabil Karah, Hannah Landecker, Charles Knapp, Megan M. McEvoy, Muhammad H. Zaman, Paul G. Higgins, Ghassan M. Matar
Frontiers in Microbiology. 2020; 11
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138 Detection of Pb(II): Au Nanoparticle Incorporated CuBTC MOFs
Gajanan A. Bodkhe, Bhavna S. Hedau, Megha A. Deshmukh, Harshada K. Patil, Sumedh M. Shirsat, Devdatta M. Phase, Krishan K. Pandey, Mahendra D. Shirsat
Frontiers in Chemistry. 2020; 8
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139 Using vegetation indices for extrapolating results of heavy metals elements analysis in forest arrays
K.V. Zakharov, A.A. Medvedkov, V.F. Borisov
Geodesy and Cartography. 2020; 962(8): 49
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140 CONVERSION OF BIOLOGICAL TREATMENT PLANT SLUDGE TO ORGANIC FERTILIZER FOR APPLICATIONS IN ORGANIC FARMING
Agampodi Sunil Shanta Mendis, Shashiprabha Punyakantha Dunuweera, Shanta Walpolage, Rajapakse Mudiyanselage Gamini Rajapakse
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141 Evaluation of Lead and Copper content in hair of workers from oil product distribution companies in Iraq
Ausama Ayob Jaccob
Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2020; 56
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142 Malonyl-based Chemosensors: Selective Detection of Fe3+ Ion in Aqueous Medium
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143 Recent Progresses in Organic-Inorganic Nano Technological Platforms for Cancer Therapeutics
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144 The Hazardous Level of Heavy Metals in Different Medicinal Plants and Their Decoctions in Water: A Public Health Problem in Brazil
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145 A Review of the Health Implications of Heavy Metals in Food Chain in Nigeria
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The Scientific World Journal. 2020; 2020: 1
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146 Pb2+ biosorption from aqueous solutions by live and dead biosorbents of the hydrocarbon-degrading strain Rhodococcus sp. HX-2
Xin Hu, Jiachang Cao, Hanyu Yang, Dahui Li, Yue Qiao, Jialin Zhao, Zhixia Zhang, Lei Huang, Yogendra Kumar Mishra
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147 Adsorptive Removal of Copper Ions from Polluted Water Using Sorbents Derived from Cordia dichotoma, Albizia thompsonii and Polyalthia cerasoides Plants
Tumma Prasanna Kumar Reddy, Sayana Veerababu, Malireddy Venkata Sai Mohan Reddy, Kunta Ravindhranath
Asian Journal of Chemistry. 2020; 32(10): 2653
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148 Metals/metalloid in Marine Sediments, Bioaccumulating in Macroalgae and a Mussel
Nigar Alkan, Ali Alkan, Ahmet Demirak, Moez Bahloul
Soil and Sediment Contamination: An International Journal. 2020; 29(5): 569
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149 Design and synthesis of water-soluble chelating polymeric materials for heavy metal ion sequestration from aqueous waste
Reshu Tyagi, Josemon Jacob
Reactive and Functional Polymers. 2020; 154: 104687
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150 Electrochemical Sensing System Based on MnFe2O4/rGO for Simultaneous Determination of Trace Amount Pb2+ and Cd2+ in Spice Samples
Shahnaz Davoudi, Mohammad Hadi Givianrad, Mohammad Saber-Tehrani, Parviz Aberoomand Azar
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