Potential availability of heavy metals to phytoextraction from contaminated soils induced by exogenous humic substances.Chemosphere. 2003 Jul; 52(1):265-75.C
Effective phytoremediation of soils contaminated by heavy metals depends on their availability to plant uptake that, in turn, may be influenced by either the existing soil humus or an exogenous humic matter. We amended an organic and a mineral soil with an exogenous humic acid (HA) in order to enhance the soil organic carbon (SOC) content by 1% and 2%. The treated soils were further enriched with heavy metals (Cu, Pb, Cd, Zn, Ni) to a concentration of 0, 10, 20, and 40 microg/g for each metal and allowed to age at room temperature for 1 and 2 months. After each period, they were extracted for readily soluble and exchangeable (2.5% acetic acid), plant-available (DTPA, Diethylentriaminepentaacetic acid), and occluded (1 N HNO(3)) metal species. Addition of HA generally reduced the extractability of the soluble and exchangeable forms of metals. This effect was directly related to the amount of added HA and increased with ageing time. Conversely, the potentially plant-available metals extracted with DTPA were generally larger with increasing additions of exogenous HA solutions. This was attributed to the formation of metal-humic complexes, which ensured a temporary bioavailability of metals and prevented their rapid transformation into insoluble species. Extractions with 1 N HNO(3) further indicated that the added metals were present in complexes with HA. The observed effects appeared to also depend on the amount of native SOC and its structural changes with ageing. The results suggest that soil amendments with exogenous humic matter may accelerate the phytoremediation of heavy metals from contaminated soil, while concomitantly prevent their environmental mobility.