Recevied: Jul 27, 2015
Accepted: Nov 02, 2015
Biology and microbiology,
Pollution and environment,
The paper gives a comprehensive insight into the role of zinc in the biosphere. It reviews numerous functions of this metal at various levels of the organisation of ecosystems. An attempt has ben made to assess its importance as a microelement, while not neglecting its toxicity due to excessive accumulation of zinc in the environment. Zinc is a natural component of the Earth's crust, but in many places it has accumulated in amounts near or above the safe levels. Currently, the use of this metal is very broad, and therefore attention should be drawn to possible consequences arising from elevated levels of zinc in the environment. Dispelling controversies surrounding heavy metals is a necessary step for gaining systematic and wider knowledge on these elements. This in turn will create an opportunity for the development of strategies and subsequent actions undertaken by everyone, from individuals to major international industrial corporations, aimed at achieving homeostasis in an environment polluted with heavy metals. Increased levels of zinc can adversely affect microbiological and biochemical processes occurring in the soil and the development of plants, which has a negative impact on the quantity and quality of crops. Therefore, low bioavailability of heavy metals, including zinc, in agricultural land is a key to the stability of ecosystems and food security.
Strachel R., Zaborowska M., Wyszkowska J. 2016. Deliberations on zinc - a trace mineral or a toxic element? J. Elem., 21(2): 625 - 639, DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2015.20.3.991
sustainable development, zinc toxicity, plant nutrition, microbiological and biochemical activity