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Potential Ecological Risk Assessment And Predicting Zinc Accumulation In Soils

Agnieszka Baran, Jerzy Wieczorek, Ryszard Mazurek, Krzysztof Urbański, Agnieszka Klimkowicz-Pawlas
Published 2017 · Medicine, Geology
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The aims of this study were to investigate zinc content in the studied soils; evaluate the efficiency of geostatistics in presenting spatial variability of zinc in the soils; assess bioavailable forms of zinc in the soils and to assess soil–zinc binding ability; and to estimate the potential ecological risk of zinc in soils. The study was conducted in southern Poland, in the Malopolska Province. This area is characterized by a great diversity of geological structures and types of land use and intensity of industrial development. The zinc content was affected by soil factors, and the type of land use (arable lands, grasslands, forests, wastelands). A total of 320 soil samples were characterized in terms of physicochemical properties (texture, pH, organic C content, total and available Zn content). Based on the obtained data, assessment of the ecological risk of zinc was conducted using two methods: potential ecological risk index and hazard quotient. Total Zn content in the soils ranged from 8.27 to 7221 mg kg−1 d.m. Based on the surface semivariograms, the highest variability of zinc in the soils was observed from northwest to southeast. The point sources of Zn contamination were located in the northwestern part of the area, near the mining–metallurgical activity involving processing of zinc and lead ores. These findings were confirmed by the arrangement of semivariogram surfaces and bivariate Moran’s correlation coefficients. The content of bioavailable forms of zinc was between 0.05 and 46.19 mg kg−1 d.m. (0.01 mol dm−3 CaCl2), and between 0.03 and 71.54 mg kg−1 d.m. (1 mol dm−3 NH4NO3). Forest soils had the highest zinc solubility, followed by arable land, grassland and wasteland. PCA showed that organic C was the key factor to control bioavailability of zinc in the soils. The extreme, very high and medium zinc accumulation was found in 69% of studied soils. There is no ecological risk of zinc to living organisms in the study area, and in 90% of the soils there were no potentially negative effects of zinc to ecological receptors.
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