Biological and chemical assessments of zinc ageing in field soils.

Research paper by Erica E Donner, Kris K Broos, Diane D Heemsbergen, Michael St J MS Warne, Mike J MJ McLaughlin, Mark E ME Hodson, Stephen S Nortcliff

Indexed on: 28 Jul '09Published on: 28 Jul '09Published in: Environmental Pollution


As zinc (Zn) is both an essential trace element and potential toxicant, the effects of Zn fixation in soil are of practical significance. Soil samples from four field sites amended with ZnSO(4) were used to investigate ageing of soluble Zn under field conditions over a 2-year period. Lability of Zn measured using (65)Zn radioisotope dilution showed a significant decrease over time and hence evidence of Zn fixation in three of the four soils. However, 0.01 M CaCl(2) extractions and toxicity measurements using a genetically modified lux-marked bacterial biosensor did not indicate a decrease in soluble/bioavailable Zn over time. This was attributed to the strong regulatory effect of abiotic properties such as pH on these latter measurements. These results also showed that Zn ageing occurred immediately after Zn spiking, emphasising the need to incubate freshly spiked soils before ecotoxicity assessments.