: 2022  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 34--39

An analytical study of washing pesticides on cauliflower using traditional methods

Ambika Dhiman, Hemant Toshikhane 
 Parul Institute of Ayurveda, Parul University, Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Ambika Dhiman
PhD Scholar, Parul Institute Of Ayurveda , Parul University, Vadodara, Gujarat


Introduction: Health is the main concern for all and it is taking on serious note now a days. The potential deleterious effects of environmental chemical exposure caused serious and high concern threat to the life which indeed has gained considerable interest for research works. Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis L.) is one such vegetable where the maximum spraying of pesticides is in practice. There are undeniable evidences regarding the hazardous effects of the sprayed pesticides. Ayurveda has explained the purification measures for all kinds of articles which are poisoned or mixed with chemical. Objective: The present study was carried out to analyze the effect of washing processing on the reduction of pesticide residues in cauliflower through the gas chromatography–mass spectrophotometry (GC-MS). Residual level of pesticides in cauliflower after washing with tap water and medicated water was analyzed. Methods: Each cauliflower was divided into three samples and different washings were compared with the control sample. Results: The results of the present study showed that using medicated water, we can be able to have less contaminated cauliflower vegetable. It was concluded from this study that traditional processing methods play a significant role in the reduction of pesticides such as prefenofos and indoxicarb which are really harmful when taken fortunately and frequently with food. Conclusion: Medicated water sample was appreciated to been efficient method of washing is evidenced by the GC-MS. Hence, an attempt was made at such level to create the awareness about the same and follow traditional methods for washing vegetables.

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Dhiman A, Toshikhane H. An analytical study of washing pesticides on cauliflower using traditional methods.J Ayurveda 2022;16:34-39

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Dhiman A, Toshikhane H. An analytical study of washing pesticides on cauliflower using traditional methods. J Ayurveda [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 29 ];16:34-39
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Fresh vegetables are important part of a healthy diet as they are a significant source of vitamins and minerals, cauliflower is one among them. However, this vegetable can also be a source of noxious toxic substances pesticides. Vegetables are traded worldwide, and the list of pesticides that might have been applied in their agricultural production is usually not known.[1],[2],[3] Cauliflower is used in the preparation of bhaji, paratha, and classical dishes such as pickles. Nowadays, it is the favorite dishes of all especially youngsters in form of Gobi Manchurians. Washing is a very important procedure used to decontaminate the vegetable. In Ayurveda, we found reference regarding the decontamination of water using some Ayurvedic drugs formulations. Therefore, raw, tap water washed, and medicated water washed samples were selected and analyzed for the pesticide residue.[4],[5],[6]

 Materials and Methods

Preparation of medicated water

The method of preparation of Kshara of Vagbhata was followed for the preparation of the medicated water.

Plant materials

Ajashrungi (Gymnema sylvestre Retz.), Indravaruni (Citrullus colocynthis Linn.), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia Willd), Phanijjaka (Ocimum gratissimum Linn.), Ativisha (Aconitum heterophyllum Wall.), and Uttamarini (Pergularia daemia Forsk) were collected and authenticated in the ASU approved Drug testing Laboratory. Big iron metal Kadayi was taken and sterilized with the help of flame gun. Each drug was weighed 300 g and altogether kept in Kadayi and ignited with by flame gun. The ash formed was stored.

More drugs

Sarala Niryasa (Pinus Roxburghii Sarg), Haridra (Curcuma longa Linn.), Daruharidra (Berberis aristata DC), Bruhat Ela (Amomum subulatum Roxb.), etc., were made into powder and sieved through sieve No. 80.

Ratio of ingredients

The quantities mentioned for the preparation of Kshara was taken, i.e. Ash: Water: More drugs = 1:8:1/30, in this formulation 100 g of Ash, 800 ml of water, and 16 gms of more drugs was taken, as shown in [Table 1].{Table 1}


One hundred gram of ash was weighed and taken in a clean dry steel vessel. Eight parts (800 g) of distilled water were weighed and mixed with ash. It was stirred for 5 min. A clean cotton cloth was tied over the vessel and kept it undisturbed for overnight. Next day, the water was filtered with a four times folded cotton cloth in another vessel for seven times. After filtration, about 550 ml of water was left. About 2 g of each additional drug was weighed separately and kalka (paste) was prepared and kept aside. The filtrated water was kept for boiling, after reducing to half of the quantity the paste of Prativapa dravya (drugs added after major procedure) was added. Again it was boiled to reduce to its half. Thus obtained thick liquid was filtered in a clean, wet, and four times folded cotton cloth and it is stored in a sterile glass bottle of capacity 200 ml, with minimal environmental exposure and contamination.[7]

Sample preparation

Collection of cauliflower

Medium sized well grown 5 cauliflower samples were randomly collected from the village named Kadrolli, (Taluka: Kittur; Dist: Belgaum) from a farmer's field [Figure 1]. The authentication of samples was done in AYUSH approved ASU drug testing laboratory. Pesticides which are used on that particular field were noted.{Figure 1}


Each cauliflower was divided into three parts. Then, each part was cut into the small fragments. See [Table 2]. Initial weight of sample, after chopping weight was noted [Figure 2].{Figure 2}{Table 2}

Gas chromatography specification

Gas chromatography (GC) specification is seen in [Table 3] as per the recommendation.[8],[9]{Table 3}

Washing methods

500 g of each raw sample was extracted as it is without submitting to any washing method which were considered as the controls for respective groupsThe second part of cauliflower (500 g) was washed in 175 ml of tap water by rubbing and rinsing for 5 min. Then, they were kept on the tissue for soaking and used further for the extraction proceduresThe third part of cauliflower (500 g) was washed in 175 ml of above-mentioned medicated water for 5 min [Figure 3], rinsed, and soaked on the tissue paper and further taken for the extraction procedure.{Figure 3}

Extraction of cauliflower sample

The raw samples and other samples were chopped in small pieces. From 500 g of cauliflower, 50 g of each parts of cauliflower was taken and macerated with 7.5 g of anhydrous sodium sulphate in blender to make a paste. Macerated sample was extracted with 100 ml of acetone on mechanical shaker for 1 h. After that extract was filtered, concentrated up to 40 ml and subjected to liquid-liquid partitioning with ethyl acetate (50, 30, and 20 ml) after diluting 4–5 times with 100 ml 10% aqueous NaCl solution then concentrated the organic phase up to 10 ml on the rotatory evaporator. The concentrated part of each sample which is 10 ml in concentration was then cleaned up [Figure 4].{Figure 4}

Analysis of pesticides using gas chromatography

The samples were concentrated with Rota Vapor. These extracts were sent to “Center for food testing laboratory,” Pune, Maharashtra, India. For sample clean up, 2 ml from each sample were taken then added 275 mg of primary secondary amines (PSA). After adding, PSA samples were kept on vortex mixer for 2 min. It was then centrifuged on refrigerated centrifugation machine on 7000 rpm for 5 min. Then, 10 ml supernatant solution was collected in the test tube. This solution was evaporated in low volume concentrator. This procedure of evaporation took 1–2 h. 1 ml of ethyl acetate was added and shaked well, and then it was filtered with 0.22 um filter paper and the samples were filled in vials. Now the sample was ready to inject in GC-mass spectrophotometry (MS) machine.[10]


After the samples were injected in GC-MS, these results were seen as from [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8], [Table 9], as shown in table sheets below.{Table 4}{Table 5}{Table 6}{Table 7}{Table 8}{Table 9}


Pesticides are the chemicals used in the agriculture to protect crops against insects, weeds, and other plant pathogens, respectively, they maintain the quality life of plant. Although and despite their huge use, pesticides lead to serious concerns about health risks arising from the exposure of farmers when mixing and applying pesticides or working in treated fields which result in increased residual these chemicals on such vegetables.[11]

In Ayurveda, there is reference in Astang sangraha regarding Aaharavidhivisheshaaayatana (guidelines for the food preparation and intake),[8] a concept of Ayurvedic treatise which enlighten the preparation of food and its consumption guidelines, portrays toya (contact with water) and Shoucha (purification) procedures in terms of any articles. These Sanskara (refining) procedures either fetch the changes in the properties or detoxify the chemicals. Shouch (=shodhana, purification), which intends either to remove the toxic principles or to detoxify them by means of washing or processing with antitoxic herbs [Figure 5].[2],[12]. After looking toward all, an attempt was made to purify cauliflower in different methods, namely washing with water and medicated water. As we can see in Sample A, results as after shodhana sanskar there was total reduction in Indoxicarb after washing with tap water and 98.09% reduction in medicated water and significant reduction was seen in medicated water as reduction of chlorpyrifos was 100% and more significant un case of cypermethrine too. If we see in Sample B, there was more efficient reduction was in all the pesticides after using medicated water except in chlorpyrifos. Moreover, same in Sample C, significant reduction in the results was seen after using medicated water except chlorpyrifos. Cypermethrin is very extreme hydrophobic and has tendency to go quickly move from an aqueous solution to suspended particulates (Fitzpatrick, 1982). Cypermethrin has tendency to hydrolyzes slowly in water at pH 7 and below, with hydrolysis being more rapid at pH 9. Under normal environmental temperatures and pH, cypermethrin is very stable to hydrolysis with a half-life of >50 days. It is also stable to photolysis with a half-life of >100 days. If we see in sterile solution and under sunlight, cypermethrinphotodegrades slowly, with <10% lost in 32 days (Walker and Keith, 1992). If we see in darkness, cypermethrin is stable with 88.7 and 95.6% recovery after 10 days in river water and distilled water, respectively (Takahashi et al., 1985).[2] Indoxacarb is a member of the new oxidizing class of insecticides and if we see volatility. It is nonvolatile with a low vapor pressure and a low Henry's law constant. Consequently, volatilization is not a significant factor in dissipation. In near-neutral aerobic aquatic systems, indoxacarb has tendency to degraded with half-lives ranging from 18 to 34 days.[3] Medicated water contain various drugs [Figure 6] which acts as antipoisonous substance and used as antidote too in various poisoning such as haridra, daruharidra, and ativisha. Medicated water being an organic substance, which perhaps may be responsible for binding of the cypermethrin and indoxicarb as cypermethrin is a synthetic that is why it gives varying efficient results.{Figure 5}{Figure 6}


In the present study, the most efficient method of washing for the removal of residual pesticide in the cauliflower was evaluated. Medicated water sample was appreciated to been efficient method of washing, is evidenced by the GC-MS. The study can be conducted under patent rights at clinical trial too.[4],[5],[6]. Most common pesticides used for cauliflower are cypermethrin, profenofos, Indoxicarb, and chlorpyrifos. Pesticide exposure has been associated with human health risk of arthritis, skin disease, bone disorder, cancer, and nerve disorder.[13],[14] Contamination of vegetables with pesticide residues has been reported by many researchers and very known to us.[15],[16] The pesticide residues causing food contamination have become increasingly frequent in recent years raising question about their human health and economic consequences and which is remarkable.[17] This extensive and widespread contamination of water, air, and soil by chemicals and industrial pollutants harm to the crops that we grow and the animals we use for food is often exposed to toxic substances[18].That's why an attempt has made to overcome these parameters with good success rate.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



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