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Ecological risk assessment of cerium for tropical agroecosystems

Moreira, Cristiano Gonçalves, Carvalho, Teotonio Soares de, de Oliveira, Cynthia, Abreu, Lívia Botelho de, Castro, Ana Carolina Simplício de, Ribeiro, Paula Godinho, Bispo, Fábio Henrique Alves, Boutin, Céline, Guilherme, Luiz Roberto Guimarães
Chemosphere 2019 v.221 pp. 124-131
Helianthus annuus, Oxisols, agroecosystems, beans, cation exchange capacity, cerium, corn, databases, ecotoxicology, edaphic factors, environmental assessment, germination, laws and regulations, organic carbon, pH, phosphorus, phosphorus fertilizers, phytotoxicity, polluted soils, radishes, rice, risk, risk assessment, soybeans, tropical soils, wheat
Cerium (Ce) is present in high technology materials and in mineral P fertilizers and the use and discharge of such resources may change the natural status of Ce in the soil environment. Brazilian soils in farming areas are significantly exposed to increased levels of unintentionally-added Ce through intensive input of phosphate fertilizers. The aims of this study were to evaluate the ecotoxicological risk to plants growing in tropical soils contaminated with Ce, as well as to create a database to support future legislation regulating the limits of this element in Brazilian and conceivably other tropical soils. Eight crop species (corn, sorghum, rice, wheat, soybeans, sunflower, radish, and beans) were exposed to a Ce concentration gradient in two typical tropical soils (Oxisol and Inceptsol), and an artificial soil. Our findings showed that among the endpoints measured, Ce phytotoxicity was more pronounced on shoot dry matter than on percent germination and germination speed index. Sensitivity of plants is species specific and our data showed that sunflower and radish exposed to Ce were the most sensitive crop species. Soil properties such as pH, cation exchange capacity, and organic carbon may have influenced the severity of Ce phytotoxicity. Because of that, the Oxisol contaminated with this element caused higher phytotoxicity than the other soils tested. Our risk assessment results (hazardous concentration, HC5 = 281.6 mg Ce kg−1) support the idea that unintentional Ce input through P fertilizers does not pose a risk to soils of Brazilian agroecosystems.