Linking biosensor responses to Cd, Cu and Zn partitioning in soils.Environ Pollut. 2006 Aug; 142(3):493-500.EP
Soils bind heavy metals according to fundamental physico-chemical parameters. Bioassays, using bacterial biosensors, were performed in pore waters extracted from 19 contrasting soils individually amended with Cd, Cu and Zn concentrations related to the EU Sewage Sludge Directive. The biosensors were responsive to pore waters extracted from Zn amended soils but less so to those of Cu and showed no toxicity to pore water Cd at these environmentally relevant amended concentrations. Across the range of soils, the solid-solution heavy metal partitioning coefficient (K(d)) decreased (p<0.01) with increasing amendments of Cu and Zn; Cu exhibited the highest K(d) values. Gompertz functions of Cu and Zn, K(d) values against luminescence explained the relationship between heavy metals and biosensors. Consequently, biosensors provide a link between biologically defined hazard assessments of metals and standard soil-metal physico-chemical parameters for determining critical metal loadings in soils.