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Environmental fate & pathways

Bioaccumulation: terrestrial

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Description of key information

Several reports (WHO, 2009 ; EU RA on chromates (ECB, 2005) ; Voluntary Risk Assessment of Metallic Chromium and Trivalent Chromium Compounds (ICDA, 2010))    all demonstrate that:

- “Chromium in soil is present mainly as insoluble oxide and is not very mobile. Chromium (III) is expected to be rapidly and strongly adsorbed onto soil, particularly by iron and manganese oxides, clay minerals, and sand.

- “The sorption of chromium to soil depends primarily on the clay content of the soil and, to a lesser extent, on iron oxide and the organic content of soil.

- “Chromium that is irreversibly sorbed onto soil, will not be bioavailable to plants or animals under any conditions (Calder, 1988; Hassan & Garrison, 1996). Chromium (III) appears to be much more strongly adsorbed to soils than is chromium (VI) (Hassan & Garrison, 1996).” (WHO, 2009)

- “Chromium is largely immobile in plants: chromium is strongly bound to soil, mainly retains in plant roots and is not/poorly translocated to plant foliage. This mechanism limits the concentration of chromium in edible plants part and prevent the secondary poisoning mechanism.

If this unlikely behavior of chromium (III) to pass from the soil to plant upper part is largely describes in the literature and assessment reports, several supportive publications, all Klimisch 2 quoted are described here.


Authors demonstrated that the bioaccumululation of chromium (III) is mostly in roots in several species just like Mentha piperita (Razic and Dogo 2010 ; Dogo et al., 2010 ; Barouchas et al 2014) ; onion (Allium cepa cv. Hybrid ; Nematshahi et al 2012) ; Lippia citriodora (Barouchas et al 2014) at Cr (III) concentrations ranged from 0 to 200 mg/Kg soil and pH ranged from 5-7. The same conclusion has been hold on two wild plant species: Parthenium hysterophorus and Solanum nigrum (UdDin et al 2014)


Results show that most Cr(III) remained in the roots, with comparatively little transport to the upper portions of the plant.


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