Chemical properties and toxicity of soils contaminated by mining activity

Agnieszka Baran , Tomasz Czech , Jerzy Wieczorek


This research is aimed at assessing the total content and soluble forms of metals (zinc, lead and cadmium) and toxicity of soils subjected to strong human pressure associated with mining of zinc and lead ores. The research area lay in the neighbourhood of the Bolesław Mine and Metallurgical Plant in Bukowno (Poland). The study obtained total cadmium concentration between 0.29 and 51.91 mg, zinc between 7.90 and 3,614 mg, and that of lead between 28.4 and 6844 mg kg−1 of soil d.m. The solubility of the heavy metals in 1 mol dm−3 NH4NO3 was 1–49 % for zinc, 5–45 % for cadmium, and <1–10 % for lead. In 1 mol HCl dm−3, the solubility of the studied metals was much higher and obtained values depending on the collection site, from 45 to 92 % for zinc, from 74 to 99 %, and from 79 to 99 % for lead. The lower solubility of the heavy metals in 1 mol dm−3 NH4NO3 than 1 mol HCl dm−3 is connected with that, the ammonium nitrate has low extraction power, and it is used in determining the bioavailable (active) form of heavy metals. Toxicity assessment of the soil samples was performed using two tests, Phytotoxkit and Microtox®. Germination index values were between 22 and 75 % for Sinapis alba, between 28 and 100 % for Lepidium sativum, and between 10 and 28 % for Sorghum saccharatum. Depending on the studied soil sample, Vibrio fischeri luminescence inhibition was 20–96 %. The sensitivity of the test organisms formed the following series: S. saccharatum > S. alba = V. fischeri > L. sativum. Significant positive correlations (p ≤ 0.05) of the total and soluble contents of the metals with luminescence inhibition in V. fischeri and root growth inhibition in S. saccharatum were found. The general trend observed was an increase in metal toxicity measured by the biotest with increasing available metal contents in soils. All the soil samples were classified into toxicity class III, which means that they are toxic and present severe danger. Biotest are a good complement to chemical analyses in the assessment of quality of soils as well as in properly managing them.
Author Agnieszka Baran (FoAaE / DoAaECh)
Agnieszka Baran,,
- Department of Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry
, Tomasz Czech (FoAE / DoAaECh)
Tomasz Czech,,
- Department of Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry
, Jerzy Wieczorek (FoAE / DoAaECh)
Jerzy Wieczorek,,
- Department of Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry
Journal seriesEcotoxicology, ISSN 0963-9292, (A 30 pkt)
Issue year2014
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in EnglishSoil, Heavy metals, Toxicity, Phytoxkit, Microtox
ASJC Classification2307 Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis; 2308 Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law; 3005 Toxicology; 2700 General Medicine
Internal identifierWRE/2014/26
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)30
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2014 = 1.293; WoS Impact Factor: 2014 = 2.706 (2) - 2014=2.943 (5)
Citation count*8 (2016-04-12)
Additional fields
FinansowanieZe środków budżetowych na badania naukowe w latach 2011-2014, grant nr N N305 107640, tytuł "The use of bioassays as indicators of soil pollution in the Malopolska region"
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
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