Arsenic in muskmelon (Cucumis melo) plants and wine in West Texas
Hettick, Bryan Edward
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Arsenic is currently a topic of relevance in both the fields of toxicology and human health. The overall goal of this thesis was to explore the potential interaction between arsenic with wine and muskmelon plants in West Texas and assess the potential hazard they pose for human consumption. This process began with a thorough review of the scientific literature on the chemical properties of arsenic and the known ways in which it interacts with biological systems. Two experimental studies were then conducted to help establish a better understanding of the element on West Texas. The first of these explored the effects of arsenic on muskmelon plants grown in the area that were exposed to the element through irrigation water. The second study analyzed the arsenic content of a selection of wine samples provided by a local winery. Both the muskmelon fruit and the wine were compared to drinking water in terms of total arsenic exposure. The results of this research indicate that arsenic can be found in all parts of the muskmelon plant and the concentration of arsenic in wine from the area exceeds the acceptable regulatory limit established for water. However both the muskmelon fruit and wine would contribute less arsenic to overall exposure for humans than what is acceptable for drinking water at recommended rates of consumption. Therefore we concluded that neither muskmelon fruit nor wine pose an immediate threat of arsenic exposure for humans.