Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Chu-Ngi Ho

Committee Members

Peng Sun, Yu-Lin Jiang


Commercially available organic and conventionally grown vegetables were studied by quantitative determination of selected metals in them and to determine if any differences found are statistically significant. These findings can help the consumers to determine if the vegetable products are within the recommended maximum limits as proposed by the joint FAO/WHO Expert committee on organic foods designation. Eight edible vegetables were purchased from local stores in both the organic and conventionally grown categories. Samples were digested with concentrated nitric acid and the metals monitored were zinc, copper, lead, iron, cadmium, and nickel using flame atomic absorption. The concentration range for the heavy metals found are as follows: Zn, 2.04-69.4; Cu, 0.35-15.1; Pb, 0.00-3.99; Cd, 0.00-0.74; Fe, 2.52-319; and Ni, 39.9-53.8 μg/g. It was found that in general, conventional vegetables contain higher amounts of most of the heavy metals studied as compared to their organic counterparts. The study also showed that all vegetables products contain below the permissible limits for Zn, Cu, Ni, and Fe. For Pb all vegetables exceeded the safe limit except organic cucumber and conventional cabbage. For Cd, organic lettuce and green pepper, and conventional leafy green, green pepper, and spinach all exceeded the limit recommended by FAO/WHO.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.