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Amelioration of Nickel Phytotoxicity in Muck and Mineral Soils

Kukier, Urszula, Chaney, Rufus L.
Journal of environmental quality 2001 v.30 no.6 pp. 1949
nickel, soil pollution, polluted soils, silt loam soils, organic soils, remediation, limestone, iron oxides, phytotoxicity, Triticum aestivum, wheat, Avena sativa, oats, Beta vulgaris, beets, dry matter accumulation, extraction, soil pH, iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, chemical constituents of plants, phytoremediation
In situ remediation (phytostabilization) is a cost-effective solution for restoring the productivity of metal-contaminated soils and protection of food chains. A pot experiment with wheat (L.), oat (L.), and redbeet (L.) was conducted to test the ability of limestone and hydrous ferric oxide (HFO) to ameliorate Ni phytotoxicity in two soils contaminated by particulate emissions from a nickel refinery. Quarry muck (Terric Haplohemist; 72% organic matter) contained 2210 mg kg of total Ni. The mineral soil, Welland silt loam (Typic Epiaquoll), was more contaminated (2930 mg Ni kg). Both soils were very strongly acidic, allowing the soil Ni to be soluble and phytotoxic. Nickel phytotoxicity of the untreated muck soil was not very pronounced and could be easily confused with symptoms of Mn deficiency that occurred in this soil even with Mn fertilization. Severe nickel phytotoxicity of the untreated mineral soil prevented any growth of redbeet, the most sensitive crop; even wheat, a relatively Ni-resistant species, was severely damaged. White banding indicative of Ni phytotoxicity was present on oat and wheat leaves grown on the acidic mineral soil. Soil Ni extracted with diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) and 0.01 Sr(NO) was indicative of the ameliorative effect of amendments and correlated well with Ni concentrations in plant shoots. Making soils calcareous was an effective treatment to reduce plant-available Ni and remediate Ni phytotoxicity of these soils to all crops tested. The ameliorative effect of HFO was crop-specific and much less pronounced.