In the Blesbokspruit area of Ekuhurleni, South Africa, previous gold mining activities resulted in many tailings dump sites. 20 representative soil samples were used in describing the distribution of metals. The soils were very strongly acidic ranging from 3.86 to 4.34 with a low cation exchange capacity (CEC). Based on X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis, elemental composition of the soils revealed average values of major elements such as Na2O (0.18%), MgO (0.63%), Al2O3 (6.51%), SiO2 (81.83%), P2O5 (0.04%), SO3 (3.40%), K2O (1.98%), CaO (0.45%), TiO2 (0.51%), Cr2O3 (0.17%), MnO (0.04%), Fe2O3 (3.59%), NiO (0.04%), As2O3 (0.02%), with Rb2O and SrO falling below 0.01%. Trace metals (TM) contamination levels in the soils were evaluated using various pollution indices which revealed that over 60% of the soils were between the high degree and the ultra-high degree of contamination classes. The concentration of various trace metals varies from 860.3–862.6 mg/kg for Cr; 324.9–328.4 mg/kg for Al; 200.9–203.4 mg/kg for As; 130.1–136.2 mg/kg for Fe; 121.9–125.8 mg/kg for Pb; 27.3–30.2 mg/kg for Co; 23.8–26.8 mg/kg for Ni; 7.2–9.2 mg/kg for Ti; 7.1–9.2 mg/kg for Cd; 4.0–5.6 mg/kg for Zn and 0.1–0.6 mg/kg for Cu.
Part of the book: Trace Metals in the Environment
A fermentation technique was utilised to assess a fungus, i.e. Cunninghamella bertholletiae/polymorpha, isolated from rotting cassava, ability to produce mycotoxins and resultant oxidation by-products of the mycotoxins using liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Thus, the mycotoxins/secondary metabolites, fumonisin B1 (FB1) and deoxynivalenol (DON) were produced while, heptadecanone, octadecanamide, octadecenal and 3-keto-deoxynivalenol (DON) were successfully identified as biodegradation by-products in the fermentation broth treated with hydrolysing ‘monkey cup’ juice from Nepenthes mirabilis. Exposure to the mycotoxins and the biodegradation by-products through consumption of contaminated produce including contact due to the cumulative presence in arable agricultural soil can be harmful to humans and animals. Therefore, this work reports on a strategy for the mitigation and reduction of mycotoxins in agricultural soil using natural plant pitcher juices from N. mirabilis’ ‘monkey cup’.
Part of the book: Mycotoxins and Food Safety