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Elemental composition of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis A.St.-Hil.) under low input systems of southern Brazil



Julierme Zimmer Barbosa

Ederlan Magri

Guilherme Quaresma Pedreira

Delmar Santin

Stephen Arthur Prior

Rangel Consalter

Scott D. Young

Eliziane Luiza Benedetti


© 2020 Elsevier B.V. Elemental composition of food can be used to determine nutritional potential as well as guiding legislation for establishing maximum acceptable limits (MAL) of metals in consumption products. This study aimed to determine the elemental background levels of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis A.St.-Hil.) under varied geologic formations in southern Brazil. Mature leaves were randomly collected from four wild-grown plants at thirty native sites in three states and analyzed for 32 elements. Since yerba mate is not washed to obtain the final product, leaves were analyzed with and without washing to assess foliar deposition. Concentration values of As, Ag, Be, Cs, Cr, Li, Se, Tl, U, and V were near detection limits, indicating low potential as a source and/or toxicity to the consumer. Washing decreased concentrations of Fe, Ti, As, Mo, Li, V, and Pb, suggesting atmospheric contributions/dust deposition. Concentrations of Mn (very high), Zn (high), and Ni (high) demonstrated that leaves could be an important source of these elements. Soil parent material affected elemental composition with basalt providing higher concentrations of Mn, P, and Co while Rhyodacite provided higher concentrations of K and Na. All samples exhibited Pb values below the MAL of 0.6 mg kg−1, but 23% of washed leaves and 20% of unwashed leaves had Cd concentrations close to or above the MAL value of 0.4 mg kg−1. Study results indicated that Cd MAL values for yerba mate in southern Brazil should be reassessed.


Motta, A. C. V., Barbosa, J. Z., Magri, E., Pedreira, G. Q., Santin, D., Prior, S. A., …Benedetti, E. L. (2020). Elemental composition of yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis A.St.-Hil.) under low input systems of southern Brazil. Science of the Total Environment, 736, Article 139637.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 21, 2020
Online Publication Date May 23, 2020
Publication Date Sep 20, 2020
Deposit Date May 26, 2020
Publicly Available Date May 24, 2021
Journal Science of the Total Environment
Print ISSN 0048-9697
Electronic ISSN 1879-1026
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 736
Article Number 139637
Public URL
Publisher URL


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