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Microelements in the Agricultural Products and the Population’s Health


Evaluation of Influence of Contaminated by Toxic Microelements Agricultural Products on the Population and the Ways of Risk Reduction

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Georgian Technical University, Georgia, Tbilisi


  • OstWestTransfer e.K., Germany, Regis-Breitingen\nIowa State University of Science and Technology / Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, USA, IA, Ames

Project summary

Goal of the project is determination of a mechanism and evaluation of contamination of agricultural products grown up in various mountainous landscapes by toxic metals (microelements) and development of recommendations for the risk reduction of their influence on the population’s health.

Four regions of Georgia subject to the most risk which are distinguished as by natural conditions and landscape contrasts so by industrial and agricultural specializations are reviewed in the project.

Pollution of environment of these regions by toxic metals takes place not only due to work of industrial plants but also as a result of natural processes such as erosion and washing-out of rocks and ore occurrence. In many medical publications there is an indication to possible connection of number of diseases with increased concentration of toxic metals in atmosphere, ground, food products and water.

Taking into consideration existing situation in this sphere of ecology, the project goal is to study as agricultural products from the viewpoint of evaluation of their contamination by toxic metals (Zn, Cd, Pb, Cu, As and Mn) so carry out experiment for the purpose of revelation of biochemical and histo-anatomic changes in bodies of test rats. Such complex study of contamination of agricultural products and their influence on a living body with account of the experiment data is taking place for the first time.

There is enough ascertain about biological role of toxic microelements taking part in the metabolic process of plant and animal organisms. It is also known that they get into a body with food products, water and air and have toxic effect on different structures and systems of the body. Namely, Pb and Cd increase sensibility against certain mouse and rat virus infections and suppress blast-transformation of lymphocytes in vitro. Negative effects of Pb influence on heart and reduction of activity of cupriferous metallo-enzyme of blood is noticed. It is detected that during chronic Mn intoxication, damage of respiratory system and neurological disorder are characteristic. Increased existence of Pb, Cd and Zn in blood and organs of workers of smeltery and refining factories as well as in residents of some regions of the USA and Northern Sweden, cause spreading of hypertonic disease and increased mortality. The fact of Pb relocation from plasma into erythrocytes is determined in Georgia in patients with acute myocardial infarction and cardiac angina, called the “Plumbous effect”.

Data, collected from various sources of literature on impact of increased concentration of certain toxic metals on health of humans and animals are provided in the table (see table 1, section II).

Comparison of the experiment results with data on spreading of types of diseases among population of the regions under study will enable us to identify the influence nature as of technogenic so natural factors of contamination of agricultural products by microelements and work out recommendations for the population’s risk reduction. In this aspect, development of prophylactic and radical recommendations and measures for their realization is foreseen. Important factor for revelation of potential toxic influence of specific microelements on certain organs of test rats is participation of the specialists of functional anatomy from Tbilisi State Medical University in the project and the Patho-anatomy Department of the Experimental Anatomy Institute of the Academy of Sciences of Georgia.

The competence of the project participants in this field is determined as by their scientific work and experience so by the previous support received from ISTC (Projects G-539 and G-945.2).

Most spread diseases of humans and animals in the regions under study, related to the application of contaminated by this or that microelements’ products, will be revealed in the work process on a step-by-step basis. Results of field, laboratory and experimental works obtained in the project will be recommended to the healthcare, agricultural and public catering organizations, used for the informational support of the population and appropriate governmental and commercial organizations which will enable their application in practice. Commercialized project results could be implemented through establishment of a commercial body. Namely, application of ecologically safe natural and artificial remedies for protection of soils and agricultural plants from contamination is foreseen. Potential consumers of the project results could become healthcare and public catering organizations, including International Tourism bases.

Proposed project fully corresponds to the ISTC goals and objectives and is directed towards solution of purely peaceful problems related to the actual thematic of ecology and transfer to the market economy.