Analysis for Essential Minerals Content in Edible Soils

This project was carried out to establish the type and quantities of essential minerals and heavy metals that are present in “edible soils” that many pregnant women and children consume. These types of soils are from different sources. As a result of pica which is a disorder that make people crave for nonfood substances many people have been observed to take these soils with a believe that they contain essential minerals like iron. This project also involved investigation of some more other general characteristics which include the pH and moisture content of the same.

From the experimental data, it was found that the soil sample had some macro and micro nutrients in varying quantities. These elemental nutrients have been found to have a significant effect on human body growth, balance and maintenance. Some of these nutrients include K, Mn, Mg, Ca, Zn, P, Cu and Fe with processed soil i.e. Sample C found to have a general low concentration of these nutrients with potassium, iron and manganese being very low compared to the others which were obtained from their natural sources. These nutrients were in the range as follows; K; 0.08-0.68%,Mg; 0.01-0.04%, P; 0.16- 0.28%, Ca; 0.01-0.21%, Organic C; 0.21-1.48%, Mn;103-13110mg/kg, Fe; 361-8662mg/kg, Cu; 5.2-59.3mg/kg, Zn; 12.7-66.0mg/kg.

 Using this information and recommended dietary intake of these nutrients as provided by food and nutrition board and other reference material, the comparison was made and even if some were way too much than required by the body they posed no potential harm to the health individual. For these nutrients in high quantities only manganese were found that would cause some potential harm while others like calcium and zinc were n very low quantity that would have an insignificant contribution on the recommended daily intake requirements. In addition to that, the pH of all samples were obtained and was found to be ranging from 6 to 8 which can be termed as a safe pH range for food to be consumed. The moisture content was found to range from 3 to 8 percent.

In Overall the different nutrients obtained from different samples compared favourably with the recommended dietary intake.

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