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1.4 CHEMICAL SCIENCES, Chemical engineering (plants, products)

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This project was undertaken by Farwa Said in collaboration with the Lifeline project , and was supervised by John Cassidy and Barry Foley. This research was completed by Farwa as part of final year work on the B.Sc. in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences.


The purpose of this project is to determine the level of trace metals concentrations in soil samples and also in food. For this approach several soil samples and few leave samples were collected from an old community garden for this analysis. The samples were sieved in two fractions using sieve analysis and extracted using the nitric acid digestion. These samples were analysed by ICP-OES and AAS to determine the level of heavy metals present in soil. The results obtained indicated high level of Pb found in soil especially in patch A followed by B, C and D sample and very low level of copper. The plant sample was also found containing high level of Pb. Furthermore tests were carried out on such as BRC Sequential extraction, Cation Exchange Capacity, Segregation and 1,2- phenylenediamine method in order to determine the type of Pb present in soil and the level of Pb found in the organic or inorganic matter. The results from the segregation and CEC method showed that most of Pb level is present in the inorganic of the soil and very little in organic matter. The results of 1,2- phenylenediamine method showed the opposite results as the fluorescence intensity decreased with copper concentration instead of increasing. The technique proved to be not as simple as described in the paper and more information is required to make the method clear in term of degassing the solution. The BCR results showed that the highest concentration of the lead level was found in residual fraction using nitric acid (~84%) and very little with other solution such as acetic acid extraction The DSC gave the organic percentage for both the leave and the soil samples. Large amount of organic was found in leave samples (70%) and very little in the soil sample (~25%) as expected. The level of Pb found in soil and plant sample are both way above the recommended literature values according to the health and food safety of Ireland and therefore serious action must be taken in order to minimise the risk on human and animals health.

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