Cobalt distribution in the soils of São Miguel Island (Azores): From volcanoes to health effects.

Affiliation

Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University of the Azores, 9501-801 Ponta Delgada, Portugal; IVAR, Institute of Volcanology and Risks Assessment, University of the Azores, 9501-801 Ponta Delgada, Portugal. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Volcanic soils cover only approximately 1% of the Earth's surface, yet they support 10% of the world's population due to their inherent fertility. However, deep magmatic processes may lead to depletion of certain elements in volcanic rocks. The imbalance of essential elements, such as cobalt, in soil parent materials can affect the health of plants and grazing animals and, thus, humans. Within the particular geological context of the Azores, the present study aims to assess cobalt concentration in volcanic soils to predict the risk of cobalt deficiency in animals and humans. Samples from agricultural topsoils and pasture grass were collected in six volcanic regions of São Miguel Island, and their physicochemical properties were measured, including selected transition metal element contents, such as iron, manganese and cobalt. The soil cobalt concentration was below 5 mg/kg in Povoação< Furnas/Congro< Sete Cidades< Fogo and was higher than 10 mg/kg in Picos< Nordeste. Cobalt concentrations were very low in pasture grass. Values below 0.1 mg/kg were observed in Furnas/Congro

Keywords

Cobalt,Deficiency,Geology,Health,Risk,Volcanic island,

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