Heavy metal contents and enzymatic activity in soils exposed to the impact of road traffic.

Research paper by Hanna H Jaworska, Joanna J Lemanowicz

Indexed on: 30 Dec '19Published on: 29 Dec '19Published in: Scientific Reports


The aim of the research was to evaluate the influence of car traffic on the content of selected heavy metals in soil from a park area, and to define the dependency between their content and enzyme activity. Soil samples were collected from 13 points located along a communication route, each 100 m from the next and 50 m from the border of the road. Soil material was obtained from two depths (0-20 cm and 20-40 cm) and analysed for: pH in HO and in KCl, OC, and texture by laser method. Total content of heavy metals (Pb, Cd, Zn, Cu, Ni), available phosphorus and the activity of selected enzymes: catalase, dehydrogenase, acidic and alkaline phosphatase were all determined. The examined soils have the texture of loamy sands or sands (USDA 2012), slightly acidic or neutral pH, Organic Carbon (OC) content in the range from 3.50 to 13.80 g kg. The total contents of elements in surface horizons were, in order of decreasing concentrations: Pb>Zn>Cu>Ni>Cd, although in subsurface horizons it was Zn>Pb>Cu>Ni>Cd. Contamination Factor (CF) determined for Ni, Pb, Cd, Zn, Cu reaches higher values in samples from subsurface horizons, which confirms the influence of car traffic on the content of heavy metals in the surrounding soils. The calculated CF shows contamination is moderate for Ni, Cd, Zn and Cu and high for Pb and Cu. The investigated soils may be classified as class IV (low) in terms of available phosphorus. The activity of the examined enzymes was higher in soil samples collected from the 0-20 cm layer than from 20-40 cm. The correlation analysis indicates a significant positive dependency between OC content in soils and enzymatic activity. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was also performed. Two principal components PC1 and PC2 account for 66.57% of the variability.