Main content area

Impact of poplar-based phytomanagement on metal bioavailability in low-phosphorus calcareous soil with multi-metal contamination

Hu, Yahu, Gao, Zhuo, Huang, Yu, Chen, Shuai, Yang, Xiaoyan, Su, Jieqiong, Zhao, Cuicui, Nan, Zhongren
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.686 pp. 848-855
Populus, bioavailability, cadmium, calcareous soils, calcium carbonate, chronosequences, lead, nickel, phosphorus, polluted soils, soil acidification, soil organic carbon, soil pH, soil-plant interactions, stand age, total nitrogen, trees, zinc
Bioavailability of trace metals (TMs) is the key component in the management of TM-contaminated soils; however, its impact mechanism is unclear in low-phosphorus (P) calcareous soils afforested by fast-growing tree species for a long duration (>10 years). We selected a site contaminated with multiple TMs and phytomanaged by poplar (Populus hopeiensis Hu & Chow) to study the impact mechanism of plant–soil interactions on TM bioavailability along a long-term chronosequence (i.e., 10, 15, 20, and 25 years). We found that phytomanagement significantly decreased soil organic carbon (SOC) content, soil total nitrogen (N) content, and soil C/P and N/P ratios with stand age, but did not significantly change soil total P content. In contrast, soil available P content significantly changed in rhizospheric soils compared with the bulk soil, suggesting the tight coupling between the amplification of P turnover and N availability. Soil pH in rhizospheric soils significantly decreased by 0.22 to 0.32 units, while calcium carbonate (CaCO3) content decreased by 14% to 39%, as compared with the bulk soil. Bioavailable concentrations of cadmium, lead, and zinc were positively correlated with soil available P, whereas bioavailable nickel concentration was negatively correlated with soil pH. Furthermore, TM bioavailability in rhizospheric soils significantly increased with stand age, regardless of the metal type. Our results suggest that P mobilization associated with SOC depletion induced soil acidification followed by CaCO3 dissolution, collectively leading to metal mobilization with stand age.