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Sustainability 2014, 6(12), 9124-9138; doi:10.3390/su6129124

Concentrations of Available Heavy Metals in Mediterranean Agricultural Soils and their Relation with Some Soil Selected Properties: A Case Study in Typical Mediterranean Soils

1
Unidade de Investigação em Química Ambiental (UIQA), Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, Lisboa 1340-017, Portugal
2
Instituto Politécnico de Portalegre, Praça do Municipio, Portalegre 7300, Portugal
3
Escuela Politécnica Superior, Departamento de Agromia, Área de Química Agrícola, Universidad de Almería, Almeria 04120, Spain
4
Department of Edaphology, Universidad da Extremadura, Badajoz 06071, Spain
5
Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics (CIEO), Universidade do Algarve, Faro 8005-139, Portugal
6
Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, Lisboa 1340-017, Portugal
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 October 2014 / Revised: 25 November 2014 / Accepted: 27 November 2014 / Published: 9 December 2014
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Abstract

The characterization of the content of trace metals in soils is an instrument in many programs of environmental protection, including the establishment of regional-level standards to detect sites affected by contamination. The objectives of the present study were to study the available levels of Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn in surface horizons of agricultural soils in a typical European Mediterranean region, to establish the geochemical baseline concentration (GBC), background level (BL), and reference value (RV) of each of these available metals, and to investigate their possible correlations with soil properties. To establish the GBC and RV values, we used the “standard threshold method”. Topsoil samples (0–20 cm) were collected from 630 sites, and extracted with Diethylene Triamine Pentaacetic Acid (DTPA) to determine their available heavy metal concentrations. The GBC values established were: 0.04 to 0.90 mg kg−1, 0.70 to 2.50 mg kg−1, 0.10 to 6.30 mg kg−1, 0.30 to 7.90 mg kg−1, 0.29 to 4.50 mg kg−1, and 0.18 to 2.50 mg kg−1 for Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn, respectively. Soil properties were found to be correlated with the available heavy metal content, suggesting that the enhanced mobility of heavy metals are related to anthropic activities. View Full-Text
Keywords: available heavy metals; Mediterranean agricultural soils; DTPA; geochemical baseline concentrations; reference values available heavy metals; Mediterranean agricultural soils; DTPA; geochemical baseline concentrations; reference values
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Nunes, J.R.; Ramos-Miras, J.; Lopez-Piñeiro, A.; Loures, L.; Gil, C.; Coelho, J.; Loures, A. Concentrations of Available Heavy Metals in Mediterranean Agricultural Soils and their Relation with Some Soil Selected Properties: A Case Study in Typical Mediterranean Soils. Sustainability 2014, 6, 9124-9138.

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