Comparison of Trace Element, Metal, and Metalloid Contents in North and South Korean Plants

Park, Jeong-Soo;Chung, Ha-Sook;Lee, Eun-Ju

  • Received : 2014.01.14
  • Accepted : 2014.04.09
  • Published : 2014.06.30


When relations improve between North and South Korea, there will be demand for North Korean edible plants because of the low labor cost and similar environmental conditions. However, there is no reliable information about trace elements, metals, and metalloids in edible plants from North Korea. Selenium (Se) and germanium (Ge) have positive effects on basic human health and are therapeutical in diverse illnesses. Metal and metalloid (Cd, Pb) poisoning, on the other hand, can cause many health problems. Plants collected from North Korea had higher selenium content than those from South Korea. Although none of the collected species exceeded the permissible levels of cadmium and lead, their content in plants was significantly higher in North Korea than in South Korea. The high metal contents in plants collected from North Korea may be associated with the soil physicochemical properties as well as the accumulated amounts of elements in the soil.


North Korea;Selenium;Germanium;Metals/metalloids;Plants


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Grant : Study on Safety and Biological activity of Plants cultivated in South Korea and North Korea

Supported by : National Research Foundation