An Assessment of Toxic in Urban Soils Using Garden Cress (Lepidium sativum) in Vasileostrovsky Ostrov and Elagin Ostrov, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Kwabena Awere Gyekye


The study was conducted to detect toxicity in urban soils of Vasileostrovsky Ostrov and Elagin Ostrov in St. Petersburg, Russia, an area characterised by wide variation in land use. A total of 37 soil samples were collected from the two study areas. Garden cress, Lepidium sativum, (L. sativum) was used as the test organism to detect the presence of toxic soils. The results indicated that soils from Vasileostrovsky Ostrov were toxic to L. sativum; the level of toxicity ranged between 40–60% (mild to moderately toxic). Tests of soils from Elagin Ostrov revealed that soils, generally, were nontoxic (90–100%). The results of most examined samples showed that soil extract had a stimulating effect on the growth of fronds; however there were few instances whereby soil extract inhibited the growth of L. sativum.

The results from the study indicated that L. sativum is capable of detecting toxic soils. The different reactions from L. sativum to soil extracts could be attributed to site-specific conditions.

The study recommends the use of L. sativum as a test organism to conduct biomonitoring of urban soil on a wide scale because of its simplicity, sensitivity, and cost-effectiveness.

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Journal of Geography and Geology   ISSN 1916-9779 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9787 (Online)  Email:

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