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Journal of Chemistry
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 9842987, 9 pages
Research Article

Metal Content in Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Leaves: Influence of Vehicular Traffic and Safety upon Consumption as Food

1Department of Drug Science and Technology, University of Torino, Via Giuria 9, 10125 Torino, Italy
2Department of Chemistry, University of Torino, Via Giuria 5, 10125 Torino, Italy
3Food Safety and Nutrition Service, Local Health Authority CN1, Via Lancimano 9, 12045 Fossano, Italy
4Food Safety and Nutrition Service, Local Health Authority CN2, Via Vida 12, 12051 Alba, Italy

Received 9 December 2015; Accepted 21 February 2016

Academic Editor: Henryk Kozlowski

Copyright © 2016 Agnese Giacomino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The widespread distribution of the common dandelion, that is, Taraxacum officinale, along with its ability to tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, makes this plant a good candidate as biological monitor of environmental metal contamination. Taraxacum officinale leaves growing spontaneously in meadows and along the streets are traditionally picked up and eaten in Italy as salad, so it is important to know the concentrations of potentially toxic elements contained in them from the point of view of food safety. For these reasons the concentrations of Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Pb, and Zn were determined in dandelion leaf and underlying soil samples collected at 12 sites in the province of Cuneo (Piedmont, Italy) in the vicinity of streets or roundabouts. The concentrations were compared with reference values for plant and soils and with maximum allowable concentrations in edible vegetables. Neither dandelion nor soil samples were found to be polluted by metals, but the comparison with limits for vegetables suggests that caution should be used in consuming spontaneously growing vegetables.