Contaminated Soil: Physical, Chemical And Biological Components
Published 2012 · Environmental Science
Soil can be described by its texture, referring to the size distribution of soil particles and the relative percentage of sand, silt and clay particles, and soil structure, the arrangement of soil particles into groups that help in water and nutrient supplying ability of the soil, and air supply to plants’ roots. The most important way in which soil texture and structure affect plant growth is the provision of water and, with it, the nutrient supply. Oxygen is required by rhizosphere microbes as well as plant roots for respiration. Soil pollution by both organic and inorganic contaminants such as fuel hydrocarbons, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, chlorinated aromatic compounds, detergents, and pesticides or nitrates, phosphates, and heavy metals, inorganic acids and radionuclides reduce plant growth. Among the sources of these contaminants are agricultural runoffs, acidic precipitates, industrial waste materials and radioactive fallout. This chapter provides an overview of the contaminated soils, their physical, chemical and biological components and briefly discusses the importance of heavy metal tolerant AM fungi and heavy metal tolerant plants for reclamation of degraded soils.