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Heavy metal concentration in soil and accumulation in selected plant species: A case study of Tampakan, South Cotabato

Jason Ben R. Paragamac, Jasper B. Maglinab, Mabel I. Barroga, and Melanie M. Garcia
Graduate School, Professional School for Agriculture and the Environment, University of the Philippines Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines

Peter D. Hume
Sagittarius Mines, Inc, Tampakan, South Cotabato, Philippines

Feliciano Gacad
Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region XII, Koronadal, South Cotabato, Philippines



Natural processes bring heavy metals and further escalated by a long history of addition from industrial development. The soil serves as a sink and can accumulate different types of minerals and nutrients, including metals and metalloids that are harmful even at lower concentrations. Plants’ ability to sequester metals and mobilize into various plant parts are significant in the bioremediation process. This study used quantitative and exploratory research design, which involves the collection of soil and plant samples subjected to laboratory test to determine the heavy metal concentration in Pulabato, Tampakan, South Cotabato in terms of arsenic (As), copper (Cu), lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) and mercury (Hg). Analysis of variance (ANOVA), correlation, simple and multiple linear regressions are employed to determine significant differences, relationships, and influences. Results show significant differences in plant heavy metal concentration across low, mid, and high elevations for metals Cu, Pb, and Hg. Pb concentration in soil shows a significant relationship with Cu in plants. Also, Pb concentration shows a positive correlation and Hg with a negative correlation for Pb concentration in the plant. Moreover, Hg’s presence in plants shows a negative correlation in Pb for soil and a positive relationship with Hg. Simple linear regression statistics show that Pb significantly influences Cu, Pb in the plant by Pb in soil, and Pb in the plant with Hg in soil. Multiple regression statistics show a significant Pb’s influence in the soil to Pb in the plant but not with Hg. Lastly, As and Pb significantly influences Hg concentration in plants.

Keywords: heavy metals, accumulation, plants, soil, Tampakan, Philippines