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Cadmium and Zn availability as affected by pH manipulation and its assessment by soil extraction, DGT and indicator plants

Muhammad, Iqbal, Puschenreiter, Markus, Wenzel, Walter W.
The Science of the total environment 2012 v.416 pp. 490-500
Plantago lanceolata, Taraxacum officinale, acidification, additives, bioavailability, cadmium, crops, indicator species, leaves, nitric acid, phytoremediation, polluted soils, rhizosphere, shoots, soil pH, soil solution, toxicity
Manipulation of soil pH by soil additives and / or rhizosphere processes may enhance the efficiency of metal phytoextraction. Here we report on the effect of nitric acid additions to four polluted soils on Cd and Zn concentrations in soil solution (Cₛₒₗₙ) and 0.005M Ca(NO₃)₂ extracts, and related changes in the diffusive fluxes and resupply of the metals as assessed by diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT). The responses of these chemical indicators of bioavailability were compared to metal uptake in two indicator plant species, common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale F.H. Wigg) and narrow leaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) grown for 75days in a pot experiment. Lowering soil pH increased Cₛₒₗₙ, the 0.005M Ca(NO₃)₂-soluble fractions and the DGT-measured Cd and Zn concentrations (CDGT) in the experimental soils. This was associated with enhanced uptake of Cd and Zn on soils acidified to pH 4.5 whereas plants did not survive at pH 3.5. Toxicity along with decreased kinetics of metal resupply (calculated by the 2D DIFS model) in the strong acidification treatment suggests that moderate acidification is more appropriate to enhance the phytoextraction process. Each of the chemical indicators of bioavailability predicted well (R²>0.70) the Cd and Zn concentrations in plantain shoots but due to metal toxicity not for dandelion. Concentration factors, i.e. the ratio between metal concentrations in shoots and in soil solution (CF) indicate that Cd and Zn uptake in plantain was not limited by diffusion which may explain that DGT did not perform better than Cₛₒₗₙ. However, DGT is expected to predict plant uptake better in diffusion-limited conditions such as in the rhizosphere of metal-accumulating phytoextraction crops.