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Heavy metal displacement in chelate-irrigated soil during phytoremediation

AuthorsMadrid Díaz, Fernando ; Liphadzi, M. S.; Kirkham, M. B.
Issue Date2003
CitationJournal of Hydrology 272(1-4): 107-119 (2003)
AbstractHeavy metals in wastewater sewage sludge (biosolids), applied to land, contaminate soils. Phytoremediation, the use of plants to clean up toxic heavy metals, might remove them. Chelating agents are added to soil to solubilize the metals for enhanced phytoextraction. Yet no studies follow the displacement and leaching of heavy metals in soil with and without roots following solubilization with chelates. The objective of this work was to determine the mobility of heavy metals in biosolids applied to the surface of soil columns (76 cm long; 17 cm diam.) with or without plants (barley; Hordeum vulgare L.). Three weeks after barley was planted, all columns were irrigated with the disodium salt of the chelating agent, EDTA (ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid) (0.5 g/kg soil). Drainage water, soil, and plants were analyzed for heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn). Total concentrations of the heavy metals in all columns at the end of the experiment generally were lower in the top 30 cm of soil with EDTA than without EDTA. The chelate increased concentrations of heavy metals in shoots. With or without plants, the EDTA mobilized Cd, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn, which leached to drainage water. Drainage water from columns without EDTA had concentrations of these heavy metals below detection limits. Only Cu did not leach in the presence of EDTA. Even though roots retarded the movement of Cd, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn through the EDTA-treated soil from 1 d (Cd) to 5 d (Fe), the drainage water from columns with EDTA had concentrations of Cd, Fe, Mn, and Pb that exceeded drinking water standards by 1.3, 500, 620, and 8.6 times, respectively. Because the chelate rendered Cd, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn mobile, it is suggested that the theory for leaching of soluble salts, put forward by Nielsen and associates in 1965, could be applied to control movement of the heavy metals for maximum uptake during chelate-assisted phytoremediation.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/S0022-1694(02)00258-5
issn: 0022-1694
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