Levels of Arsenic and Other Trace Elements in Southern Libyan Agricultural Irrigated Soil and Non-irrigated Soil Projects

Yuossef F. Lawgali*, Andrew A. Meharg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The levels of As and various other trace elements found in the irrigated agricultural soil (Tsoil) of southern Libya were compared with non-irrigated soil (Csoil) from the same sampling campaign collected between April and May 2008. The soil samples represented agronomic practice in the southern Libyan regions of Maknwessa (MAK), Aril (ARL) and Taswaa (TAS), and were analyzed by Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for Co, Ni, Cu, Se, Mo, Zn, As, Pb, Cd and P. Concentrations of P and As in TAS and MAK were found to be higher in Tsoil compared to Csoil, while the opposite was true for ARL. In general, As concentrations in these areas were 2-3 times lower than the global average. In ARL, the average P concentrations of the Csoil samples were significantly higher than those of Tsoil samples: this site is composed mainly of pasture for animal production, where phosphate fertilizers are used regularly. Distance from the source of irrigation was found to be of an important influence on the heavy metal concentration of the soil, with greater concentrations found closer to the irrigation source. It can be concluded from the results that irrigation water contains elevated levels of As, which finds its way into the soil profile and can lead to accumulation of As in the soil over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-90
Number of pages12
JournalWater Quality, Exposure and Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Rural irrigated soil
  • Southern Libya
  • Arsenic
  • Other trace elements

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