Trace element contaminants in mineral fertilizers used in Iran Academic Article uri icon


  • The application of mineral fertilizers which have contaminants of trace elements may impose concern regarding the entry and toxic accumulation of these elements in agro-ecosystems. In this study, 57 mineral fertilizers (nitrogen, potassium, phosphate, and compound fertilizers) distributed in Iran were analyzed for their contents of Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn, and Fe. The results revealed that the contents of these trace elements varied considerably depending on the type of the element and the fertilizer. Among these elements, Fe displayed the highest average content, whereas Cd showed the lowest. Generally, the trace element contents in P-containing fertilizers were higher than those in nitrogen and potassium fertilizers. The mean values of trace elements (mg kg-1) in P-containing fertilizers were 4.0 (Cd), 5.5 (Co), 35.7 (Cr), 24.4 (Cu), 272 (Mn), 14.3 (Ni), 6.0 (Pb), 226 (Zn), and 2532 (Fe). Comparing trace element contents to limit values set by the German Fertilizer Ordinance showed that the mean contents of potentially toxic trace elements, such as Cd and Pb, were lower than their limit values in all groups of fertilizers. On the other hand, while a number of fertilizers contained a high content of some essential trace elements, particularly Fe, they were not labeled as such.

publication date

  • November 2018