Purpose: Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) is a medicinal plant with antidiabetic effects. Chromium has been related to better glucose tolerance in humans. The objective of this study was to determine whether tannery sludge could be used for Cr biofortification of fenugreek. Materials and methods: Soil was mixed with tannery sludge containing 6.03 g Cr kg-1. All Cr was in the form of Cr(III). Three treatments were disposed: control without sludge, and two treatments with 10 and 20 g sludge kg-1, respectively. Control and the 10 g sludge kg-1 treatments received NPK fertilizer to adjust the concentrations of major mineral nutrients to similar levels in all treatments. Soils were potted and planted with fenugreek. Plants harvested at the initial flowering stage were analysed for total Cr, Fe, Zn and Pb. Sequential soil extraction was applied to obtain operationally defined soil Cr fractions. Results and discussion: Total Cr in all treatments was below or within the allowable range for agricultural soils (100-150 mg kg-1). In control soils, most Cr was in the residual fraction (HF/HClO4 digest). Tannery sludge-amended soils incorporated most Cr into the moderately reducible fraction (oxalic acid/ammonium oxalate extract). In fenugreek shoots, Cr concentrations reached 3.2 mg Cr kg-1, a higher concentration than that reported for other leafy vegetables. Lead concentrations in plant shoots from this treatment were enhanced but hardly exceeded 1 mg Pb kg-1. Conclusions: Tannery sludge-amended soils containing Cr within the range of permissible concentrations can increase shoot Cr in fenugreek. Only sludge with low Pb concentrations should be used for Cr biofortification of fenugreek. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
- Tannery sludge
- Trigonella foenum-graecum