Potentially Toxic Elements in Soils Affected by Metal Mining and Processing

A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Mineralogy and Biogeochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2021) | Viewed by 33510

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Soil Science and Environmental Protection, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, 50-375 Wroclaw, Poland
Interests: soil; mine wastes; tailings; potentially toxic elements; arsenic; remediation; risk assessment; biogeochemistry; phytoavailability; ecotoxicity
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Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Remote Sensing and Soil Science, Faculty of Geographical and Geological Sciences, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, ul. Bogumiła Krygowskiego 10, 61-680 Poznań, Poland
Interests: heavy potentially toxic elements in the environment, their speciation; antimony and arsenic, mobility and phytoavailability; land reclamation; shooting ranges, the use of remote sensing for the quantitative assessment of soil nutrient status and soil contamination
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Production of metals has always been and remains an important constituent in the development of civilization. Mining of metal ores, as well as their processing that involves various methods of concentration and smelting, belong to those human activities that strongly affect the environment. They usually lead to its considerable enrichment in potentially toxic elements, such as heavy metals and metalloids. The problem of soil pollution in such sites relates both to abandoned historical mines and smelters and to currently operating plants. Although the contemporary metal industry usually uses modern technologies that can significantly reduce the amounts of contaminants released into the environment, potentially toxic metals and metalloids that have accumulated in soils for decades or centuries can still pose a considerable risk to human health and ecosystems. Their transformations can lead to either beneficial or detrimental effects.

This Special Issue of Minerals welcomes works dealing with various problems related to soil contamination in the sites affected by metal ore mining and processing, including weathering of metal(loid)-hosting minerals, biogeochemistry of potentially toxic elements in soils, their release into water and uptake by plants, assessment of associated environmental risk, as well as the methods of soil remediation.

Prof. Dr. Anna Karczewska
Prof. Dr. Karolina Lewińska
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • metals
  • metalloids
  • soil
  • contamination
  • mining
  • mine wastes
  • tailings
  • smelting
  • remediation
  • risk assessment
  • bioavailability

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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11 pages, 1645 KiB  
Article
Does Soil Drying in a Lab Affect Arsenic Speciation in Strongly Contaminated Soils?
by Anna Karczewska, Agnieszka Dradrach, Bernard Gałka and Katarzyna Szopka
Minerals 2022, 12(2), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12020223 - 09 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1440
Abstract
This study examined the changes in extractability and fractionation of arsenic (As) that can be caused by the drying of strongly polluted anoxic soil samples. Two untreated and manure-amended soils were incubated for 7 and 21 days in flooded conditions. Thereafter, As water- [...] Read more.
This study examined the changes in extractability and fractionation of arsenic (As) that can be caused by the drying of strongly polluted anoxic soil samples. Two untreated and manure-amended soils were incubated for 7 and 21 days in flooded conditions. Thereafter, As water- and 1 M NH4NO3-extractability and As fractionation in a 5-step sequential extraction according to Wenzel were examined in fresh, oven-dried and air-dried samples. Soil treatment with manure considerably affected the results of the sequential extraction. Air-drying caused a significant decrease in As extractability with 1 M NH4NO3 and in As concentrations in the F1 fraction. The highest reduction of extractability (30–41%) was found in manure-treated soils. Oven-drying resulted in a smaller reduction (5–34%) of As extractability. These effects were explained by opposing processes of As mobilization and immobilization. Sequential extraction did not allow for balancing As redistribution due to drying, as As loss from the F1 fraction was smaller than the confidence intervals in the other fractions. The results showed that for the precise determination of As extractability in anoxic soils, fresh samples should be analyzed. However, oven-dried samples may be used for a rough assessment of environmental risk, As the order of magnitude of easily soluble As did not change due to drying. Full article
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13 pages, 3403 KiB  
Article
Cu Dynamics in the Rhizosphere of Native Tropical Species: Assessing the Potential for Phytostabilization in Mining-Impacted Soils
by Daniel Pontes de Oliveira, Hermano Melo Queiroz, Fabio Perlatti, Amanda Duim Ferreira, Verónica Asensio, Gabriel Nuto Nóbrega, Xosé Luis Otero and Tiago Osório Ferreira
Minerals 2022, 12(2), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/min12020130 - 23 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2223
Abstract
The use of native plants for reforestation and/or remediation in areas contaminated by mining is a technique with low implantation and maintenance costs. The success of this practice depends on the plant species and geochemical processes at the soil–plant interface (e.g., rhizosphere). This [...] Read more.
The use of native plants for reforestation and/or remediation in areas contaminated by mining is a technique with low implantation and maintenance costs. The success of this practice depends on the plant species and geochemical processes at the soil–plant interface (e.g., rhizosphere). This study evaluated the potential of spontaneous species for mobilizing and altering mineral and metal dynamics in the rhizosphere of Cu-rich soils resulting from the abandoned Pedra Verde mine in NE Brazil. Rhizosphere and bulk soil samples were collected from five shrubby/arboreal species. The pH, organic matter content, Cu fractionation, mineralogical characterization, and Cu content in the leaves and roots of all studied species were determined. In addition, the bioaccumulation factor (BCF) and translocation factor (TF) were used to evaluate the potential of these species for Cu hyperaccumulation. The Cu concentration in leaf plant tissues varied from 18 to 34 mg kg−1, and all plants presented TF and BCF < 1, indicating that the species were not Cu hyperaccumulators. However, the root exudates induce mineral dissolution, indicating potential Cu accumulation in the roots (from 36 to 249 mg kg−1). Combretum aff. pisoniodes Taub was the species with the greatest potential for decreasing Cu bioavailability and phytostabilization. Our findings indicate the potential of native Brazilian plants for growth in Cu-contaminated soil. These findings may be used for reforestation programs. Full article
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23 pages, 3427 KiB  
Article
Sources, Spatial Distribution and Extent of Heavy Metals in Relation to Land Use, Lithology and Landform in Fuzhou City, China
by Terefe Hanchiso Sodango, Xiaomei Li, Jinming Sha, Jiali Shang and Zhongcong Bao
Minerals 2021, 11(12), 1325; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11121325 - 26 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1985
Abstract
Assessing the spatial distribution of soil heavy metals in urban areas in relation to land use, lithology and landform may provide insights for soil quality monitoring. This study evaluated the spatial distribution, the sources and the extent of heavy metal(loid)s in the topsoil [...] Read more.
Assessing the spatial distribution of soil heavy metals in urban areas in relation to land use, lithology and landform may provide insights for soil quality monitoring. This study evaluated the spatial distribution, the sources and the extent of heavy metal(loid)s in the topsoil of Fuzhou city, China. A combination of GIS and multivariate approaches was used to determine the spatial distribution and the sources of heavy metals. Additionally, analysis of variance was used to determine the variability of selected heavy metals across land use, landform, and lithology. The result show that the mean concentrations of Cd, Zn, As and Pb were higher than background values. Most of the heavy metals had significant correlations with each other. In particular, V and Fe (0.84 at p < 0.01) and Ni and Cr (0.74 at p < 0.01) had strong correlations, while Cu and Fe (0.68 at p < 0.01), Cu and V (0.63 at p < 0.01), Cu and Co (0.52 at p < 0.01), Zn and Ni (0.51 at p < 0.01), Co and Fe (0.54 at p < 0.01), and Cu and Zn (0.55 at p < 0.01) had moderate correlations. Arsenic, Cu, and Zn had significant positive correlations with total nitrogen (TN). Similarly, arsenic, Zn and Cr had positive correlations with total carbon (TC), while Co had negative correlations with TN and TC at p < 0.01. The peak values for Cr, Ni, Pb, Mn, and Zn were observed in the intensively urbanized central and eastern parts of the study area, suggesting that the main sources might be anthropogenic activities. Agricultural land use had the highest content of Cd, which may be attributed to the historical long-term application of agrochemicals in the area. Additionally, its content was significantly higher in agricultural land use with shale lithology, implying that shale lithology was a key geogenic source for Cd of soils in the study area. Pb content was affected by urban land use, which may be attributed to intensive human activities such as emissions from vehicles, industrial effluents, mining activities, and other discharges. The results show the high spatial variability of heavy metal(loid)s, implying that the soils in the study area were highly influenced by both geogenic variability and human activities. Moreover, land use and lithology had significant impacts on the variability of Cd, As and Pb. Sustainable agricultural practices and urban management are recommended to sustain the eco-environment of coastal city. Full article
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11 pages, 2017 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Risk of Total and Available Potentially Toxic Elements in Agricultural Soil in Typical Mining Areas in Xiangjiang River Basin, Hunan Province
by Yang Yu, Wenqing Liu, Haijiang Luo, Lihuan He, Haijiang Liu, Renji Xu, Linlin Zhang, Yeyao Wang, Guoping Wu and Fusheng Wei
Minerals 2021, 11(9), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11090953 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1715
Abstract
In this study, soil and rice samples from 85 sites in six cities in Hunan Province were analyzed for Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd, Hg, Mn, and Co (total and bioavailable concentrations for soil) in July 2014. The results indicated that the total concentrations [...] Read more.
In this study, soil and rice samples from 85 sites in six cities in Hunan Province were analyzed for Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd, Hg, Mn, and Co (total and bioavailable concentrations for soil) in July 2014. The results indicated that the total concentrations of Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd, and Hg in soil had increased significantly compared with the 1980s, and were correlated with their bioavailable concentrations in soil positively. The total concentrations of Cd and Co in soil were correlated with those in rice. Bioavailable concentrations of Cd, Mn, Co, Pb, and Cu represented 64.4%, 33.2%, 12.0%, 11.6%, and 6.1% of the total soil concentrations, respectively. The bioavailable concentrations of Cd and Co in soil had a extremely significant (p < 0.01) positive correlation with those in rice, suggesting that bioavailable concentrations was a better indicator for soil potentially toxic elements contamination. The pH values had a significant influence on the bioavailability of Cd and Cu and the amounts taken up by rice. The Cd contamination in 27.0% rice samples exceeded World Health Organization recommended thresholds. The results added basic pollution distribution data, further revealing the relationships of metals in soil and crops and would offer great help to the metallic pollution control in these areas. Full article
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11 pages, 1228 KiB  
Article
Metal Accumulation and Tolerance in Artemisia indica var. maximowiczii (Nakai) H. Hara. and Fallopia sachalinensis (F.Schmidt) Ronse Decr., a Naturally Growing Plant Species at Mine Site
by Xingyan Lu, Keiko Yamaji, Toshikatsu Haruma, Mitsuki Yachi, Kohei Doyama and Shingo Tomiyama
Minerals 2021, 11(8), 806; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11080806 - 26 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1828
Abstract
For growing plants at mine sites, plant species that accumulate metals in tissues and are tolerant to high metal concentrations should be selected from the perspective of phytostabilization. However, the eco-chemical or elemental information of the plant species at the mine sites is [...] Read more.
For growing plants at mine sites, plant species that accumulate metals in tissues and are tolerant to high metal concentrations should be selected from the perspective of phytostabilization. However, the eco-chemical or elemental information of the plant species at the mine sites is limited. The purpose of this study was to identify plants that can adapt to natural growth at mine sites, via: (1) vegetation survey, (2) elemental analysis in soil and plants, and (3) detoxicant detection in plant cells. Our vegetation survey indicated that plants growing at our study site are consistent with plant species confirmed at other mine sites in previous reports. A. indica var. maximowiczii and F. sachalinensis, present at the mine site, highly accumulated Fe, Al, and Cu in the roots, indicating their metal tolerance. Furthermore, A. indica var. maximowiczii produced detoxicants such as chlorogenic acid and 3,5-dicaffeoylquinic acid in the roots, which exhibited high antioxidative activity that would play an important role in metal tolerance in A. indica var. maximowiczii. This study will be effective in providing fundamental information on phytostabilization at mine sites. Full article
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19 pages, 3763 KiB  
Article
Mineral Inactivation of Zinc in Polluted Soil—Sustainability of Zeolite, Bentonite and Blends
by Jean Diatta, Agnieszka Andrzejewska, Witold Grzebisz, Leszek Drobek and Zbigniew Karolewski
Minerals 2021, 11(7), 738; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11070738 - 07 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1598
Abstract
The study outlines a novel and traceable procedure for inactivating zinc polluted soil (an Anthrosols) adjacent to a former zinc (Zn) ore mine “Orzel Biały” in Bytom (Poland), where the total content of Zn amounted to 3988.0 mg kg−1. This pollution [...] Read more.
The study outlines a novel and traceable procedure for inactivating zinc polluted soil (an Anthrosols) adjacent to a former zinc (Zn) ore mine “Orzel Biały” in Bytom (Poland), where the total content of Zn amounted to 3988.0 mg kg−1. This pollution level initiated an inactivation process involving two natural mineral sorbents, i.e., zeolite (Z) and bentonite (B), as well as their five blends (ZeoBen) expressed as ZB: (1) ZB15/85, (2) ZB30/70, (3) ZB50/50, (4) ZB70/30 and (5) ZB85/15. Next, phosphorus (P) as triple superphosphate (TSP, 46% P2O5) was added to individual ZB at rates: 0.25%, 0.5%, 1.0% and 2.0%. All sorbents were added to the Zn polluted soil at 0%, 0.25%, 0.5%, 1.0% and 2.0% (dry weight basis). Treatments (1.0 kg of Zn-polluted soil with ZB sorbents) were aged for 115 days. Data revealed that ZB85/15 with prevailing zeolite caused a Znact inactivation of 66–71%, while zeolite induced 54% and 47% for bentonite. Reactive zinc (Znreac) decreased much more (20%) when zeolite was incorporated at the rate 2.5 g·kg−1 soil, and bentonite was (10%) at the same rate. The application of the sorbent ZB50/50 enriched with triple superphosphate (TSP) raised the stabilization degree for both Zn fractions. The efficiency was significant at the TSP rate of 2.0% of the sorbent and at least the sorbent +TSP of 10 g·kg−1 soil. The cation exchange capacity (CEC) of about 2 cmol(+)·kg−1 controlled the activity −0.50 mmol·dm−3 of either γZnreac or γZnact, hence a very low zinc ionic activity. The use of mineral blends with higher sharing of zeolite is promising for remediating metal-polluted lands in the case of zinc. Full article
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20 pages, 7608 KiB  
Article
Differentiation of Trace Metal Contamination Level between Different Urban Functional Zones in Permafrost Affected Soils (the Example of Several Cities in the Yamal Region, Russian Arctic)
by Timur Nizamutdinov, Eugenia Morgun, Alexandr Pechkin, Jakub Kostecki, Andrzej Greinert and Evgeny Abakumov
Minerals 2021, 11(7), 668; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11070668 - 23 Jun 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2383
Abstract
Dynamically developing urbanization causes a number of environmental effects, including those related to the chemical transformation of soils. Relatively less information about the urban areas of the Arctic and Subarctic zones, constructed mostly on permafrost and intensively populated areas can be found. By [...] Read more.
Dynamically developing urbanization causes a number of environmental effects, including those related to the chemical transformation of soils. Relatively less information about the urban areas of the Arctic and Subarctic zones, constructed mostly on permafrost and intensively populated areas can be found. By the example of the analysis of basic soil properties and concentrations of trace metals in the soils of the cities of Salekhard, Urengoy, Nadym, Novy Urengoy and Gaz Sale (the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District), as well as various functional zones within the cities, the relationship between the age of the cities, the level of anthropogenic pressure and the type of parent materials and the character of accumulation of metals in the soil profile of urban soils have been described. The direct correlation was found between the content of Pb, Cr, Ni, As and soil sorption characteristics. In young cities built on sandy sediments, there is less accumulation of heavy metals in the topsoil horizons. Relatively higher concentrations of Cu and Cd were noted in soils of industrialized cities, regardless of functional zones. The higher content of Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, As and Pb has been registered in older zones also frequently used for residential purposes. The calculated values of the PI index for some functional zones of young cities show the medium and high content of heavy metals. The analysis of Igeo and PLI indices shows a large diversity both in relation to individual cities and their functional zones. Soil quality, in spite of the high level of anthropogenic load, was assessed as mostly satisfactory. Full article
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12 pages, 4819 KiB  
Article
Fractions of Ni, Pb, Cr, and Their Impact on Enzyme Activities of Arable Land Cultivated by the Simplified Method
by Adam Łukowski and Dorota Dec
Minerals 2021, 11(6), 584; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11060584 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2004
Abstract
Total metal content is not representing its availability and thus does not provide the details about potential environmental hazards, including the impact on soil enzyme activities. To understand metal availability, chemical fractions must be considered. The goal of this study was to evaluate [...] Read more.
Total metal content is not representing its availability and thus does not provide the details about potential environmental hazards, including the impact on soil enzyme activities. To understand metal availability, chemical fractions must be considered. The goal of this study was to evaluate the influence of Ni, Cr, and Pb fractions on the enzymatic activity of soils cultivated by the simplified method, which is rare not only in Poland. The percentage of studied metals in fractions was determined according to the Community Bureau of Reference (BCR) method. Four fractions were extracted: acid soluble and exchangeable (F1), reducible (F2), oxidizable (F3), and residual (F4). The highest Ni and Cr percentages were noted in fraction F4, and for Pb, they were noted in fraction F2. The smallest Ni and Pb percentages were observed in fraction F1 (most mobile) and for Cr, they were observed in fraction F2. In soil samples collected in spring, the significant relationship was stated between F1/Ni/dehydrogenase, F2/Pb/dehydrogenase, and F2/Pb/urease. Such dependence occurred between F1/Ni/phosphatase and F4/Ni/urease during summer as well as between F1/Ni/phosphatase and F4/Ni/dehydrogenase in autumn. F1/Pb caused a drop in phosphatase activity, whereas F4/Cr influenced its increase. The study results indicated that metal fractions influenced phosphatase activity the most, while protease activity in the soil was not affected. Full article
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17 pages, 2091 KiB  
Article
Effect of Land Reclamation on Soil Properties, Mineralogy and Trace-Element Distribution and Availability: The Example of Technosols Developed on the Tailing Disposal Site of an Abandoned Zn and Pb Mine
by Magdalena Tarnawczyk, Łukasz Uzarowicz, Katarzyna Perkowska-Pióro, Artur Pędziwiatr and Wojciech Kwasowski
Minerals 2021, 11(6), 559; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11060559 - 24 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2293
Abstract
Land reclamation is a common practice leading to the restoration of areas affected by industrial activity. Soil studies in reclaimed areas are very useful to determine the effectiveness of reclamation works. The goal of the study was to investigate soil properties, mineral composition, [...] Read more.
Land reclamation is a common practice leading to the restoration of areas affected by industrial activity. Soil studies in reclaimed areas are very useful to determine the effectiveness of reclamation works. The goal of the study was to investigate soil properties, mineral composition, total concentrations of Zn, Pb, Cd and As and chemical forms of these elements in order to assess the success of land reclamation of the abandoned mine tailing disposal site of the “Trzebionka” Zn-Pb mine in Trzebinia, southern Poland. The disposal site was reclaimed by covering tailings with a layer of inert material with a thickness up to 25 cm. The topsoil of the studied soil profiles was comprised of sandy loamy/loamy materials and the subsoil was comprised of sandy tailing materials. The soils were characterized by a neutral or slightly alkaline reaction due to the high content of carbonates. The dominant mineral in the subsoil was dolomite. The studied soils were considerably contaminated with Zn, Pb, Cd and As. A high load of mobile Zn, Pb and Cd was typical of the subsoil material. The reclamation layer does not provide sufficient isolation of toxic tailings from the environment and there is still a high risk of element uptake by plants. Full article
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16 pages, 3131 KiB  
Article
The Response of the Soil Microbiome to Contamination with Cadmium, Cobalt and Nickel in Soil Sown with Brassica napus
by Edyta Boros-Lajszner, Jadwiga Wyszkowska, Agata Borowik and Jan Kucharski
Minerals 2021, 11(5), 498; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11050498 - 08 May 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2703
Abstract
Soil fertility is determined by biological diversity at all levels of life, from genes to entire biocenoses. The aim of this study was to evaluate bacterial diversity in soil contaminated with Cd2+, Co2+ and Ni2+ and sown with Brassica [...] Read more.
Soil fertility is determined by biological diversity at all levels of life, from genes to entire biocenoses. The aim of this study was to evaluate bacterial diversity in soil contaminated with Cd2+, Co2+ and Ni2+ and sown with Brassica napus. This is an important consideration because soil-dwelling microorganisms support phytoremediation and minimize the adverse effects of heavy metals on the environment. Microbial counts, the influence (IFHM) of Cd2+, Co2+ and Ni2+ on microorganisms, the colony development (CD) index, the ecophysiological diversity (EP) index and genetic diversity of bacteria were determined under controlled conditions. Soil contamination with Cd2+, Co2+ and Ni2+ significantly influenced microbial diversity and increased the values of CD and EP indices. The tested heavy metals decreased the genetic diversity of bacteria, in particular in the phyla Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria. Bacteria of the genera Arthrobacter, Devosia, Kaistobacter, Paenibacillus, Phycicoccus, Rhodoplanes and Thermomonas were identified in both contaminated and non-contaminated soil. These bacteria are highly resistant to soil contamination with Cd2+, Co2+ and Ni2+. Full article
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17 pages, 2898 KiB  
Article
Arsenic Forms in Soils of Various Settings in the Historical Ore Mining and Processing Site of Radzimowice, Western Sudetes
by Karolina Lewińska, Agata Duczmal-Czernikiewicz, Anna Karczewska, Agnieszka Dradrach and Muhammad Iqbal
Minerals 2021, 11(5), 491; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11050491 - 05 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2139
Abstract
This study, carried out in Radzimowice, a historical As mining site, analyzed the speciation and mineralogical As forms in soils, in different locations, as related to rock weathering processes and associated environmental risk. Four soil groups, including those on mine dumps, and in [...] Read more.
This study, carried out in Radzimowice, a historical As mining site, analyzed the speciation and mineralogical As forms in soils, in different locations, as related to rock weathering processes and associated environmental risk. Four soil groups, including those on mine dumps, and in the stream valley, as well as stream sediments, were examined. The screening performed on 52 samples showed an extremely low actual As solubility, except for soils at reducing conditions. Nine samples were subjected to mineralogical analysis by microscopy and X-ray diffraction (XRD), and sequential extraction according to Wenzel. The results indicated that in all samples, As was associated mainly with amorphous Fe oxides, that constituted up to 66% of total As. Scanning electron microscopy–energy-dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) analysis performed on 3 representative samples revealed that the dump material contained the grains of primary As minerals, mainly arsenopyrite and loelingite, rimmed and encrusted with goethite. Stream sediments and the alluvial soil contained large amounts of (hydroxy)Fe-oxides, in which As was present in sparse scorodite grains and in highly dispersed forms associated with goethite and amorphous compounds of various compositions. The diversity of As species makes forecasting of its environmental fate difficult, therefore further research should focus on As transformations, particularly under reducing conditions. Full article
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16 pages, 2745 KiB  
Article
Complementary Use of Magnetometric Measurements for Geochemical Investigation of Light REE Concentration in Anthropogenically Polluted Soils
by Piotr Fabijańczyk and Jarosław Zawadzki
Minerals 2021, 11(5), 457; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11050457 - 27 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1614
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to use fast geophysical measurements of soil magnetic susceptibility (κ) as supplementary data for chemical measurements of selected light rare earth elements (REEs) in soil. In order to ensure diversity in soil conditions, anthropogenic conditions [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to use fast geophysical measurements of soil magnetic susceptibility (κ) as supplementary data for chemical measurements of selected light rare earth elements (REEs) in soil. In order to ensure diversity in soil conditions, anthropogenic conditions and types of land use, seven areas were selected, all located in regions subjected to past or present industrial pollution. Magnetometric parameters were measured using a selected magnetic sensor that was specially designed for measurements of soil cores and were used to classify collected soil cores into six distinctive types. The analysis of REEs concentrations in soil was carried out taking into account the grouping of collected soil samples based on the type of study area (open, forested and mountain), and additionally on the measured magnetometric parameters of collected soil cores. A use of magnetometric measurements provided different, but complementary to chemical measurements information, which allowed to obtain deeper insight on REEs concentrations in soils in studied areas. Full article
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20 pages, 6977 KiB  
Article
Biomonitoring of the Urban Environment of Kielce and Olsztyn (Poland) Based on Studies of Total and Bioavailable Lead Content in Soils and Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale agg.)
by Ewelina Zajęcka and Anna Świercz
Minerals 2021, 11(1), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11010052 - 07 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1996
Abstract
Kielce and Olsztyn are two different urban ecosystems. They differ from each other in terms of geological and climatic conditions, as well as spatial development and industrial past. The aim of this article is to assess and compare the degree of lead contamination [...] Read more.
Kielce and Olsztyn are two different urban ecosystems. They differ from each other in terms of geological and climatic conditions, as well as spatial development and industrial past. The aim of this article is to assess and compare the degree of lead contamination of the natural environment in both cities based on the conducted tests of soils, as well as a common dandelion’s roots and leaves. For this study’s purpose, 60 samples of soils and common dandelion’s roots and leaves were collected in each city, according to four land-use types, namely industrial areas, urban green areas, urban allotment gardens, and urban forests. Basic physico-chemical properties and concentrations of lead, i.e., total content and bioavailable content were determined in the soils, using speciation analysis. Lead concentrations in the roots and leaves of common dandelion were, in turn, determined using the ICP-OES method. By using kriging models, spots with excessive lead concentrations differing from the geochemical background were identified in each city. The number of spots was comparable for both cities; however, the values for this metal differed significantly. No relationship has been found between land-use types and concentrations of lead in soils and common dandelions. The results of the study, as well as statistical and spatial analyses show that this species may be recommended as an indicator for biomonitoring of urban environments. Full article
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19 pages, 854 KiB  
Article
Chitosan with Bentonite and Biochar in Ni-Affected Soil Reduces Grain Ni Concentrations, Improves Soil Enzymes and Grain Quality in Lentil
by Hafiz Syed Tanzeem-ul-Haq, Bilal Rasool, Syed Ehtisham-ul-Haque, Sadia Saif, Sadia Zafar, Tahira Younis, Imran Akhtar, Laila Jafri, Naeem Iqbal, Nasir Masood, Karolina Lewińska and Muhammad Iqbal
Minerals 2021, 11(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11010011 - 24 Dec 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3050
Abstract
Ecological and human health risks associated with Ni-affected soils are one of the major attention seeking issues nowadays. The current investigation is based on the usage of biochar (BR), chitosan (CN), bentonite (BE), and their mixture to immobilize Ni in a Ni-polluted soil [...] Read more.
Ecological and human health risks associated with Ni-affected soils are one of the major attention seeking issues nowadays. The current investigation is based on the usage of biochar (BR), chitosan (CN), bentonite (BE), and their mixture to immobilize Ni in a Ni-polluted soil and accordingly contracted Ni distribution in lentil plant parts, improved grain nutritional quality, antioxidant defense system, and soil enzymatic activities. The soil was initially amended with CN, BE, and BR and later lentil was grown in this soil in pots. Results depicted the highest significance of BE+CN treatment in terms of reducing the Ni distribution in the roots, shoots, grain, and DTPA-extractable fractions, relative to control treatment. Contrarily, the BR+CN treatment displayed the minimum oxidative stress and the utmost plant growth, chlorophyll contents in the leaves, relative water content (RWC), micronutrient concentrations, and grain biochemistry. The BR+CN indicated the highest activities of soil enzymes. Based on the results, we recommend BE+CN treatment to reduce the Ni distribution in the lentil plant. Although, improvement in plant growth, grain quality, soil enzymes, and a significant reduction in plant oxidative stress can only be gained with BR+CN. Full article
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Review

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22 pages, 3980 KiB  
Review
Do Old Mining Areas Represent an Environmental Problem and Health Risk? A Critical Discussion through a Particular Case
by Salvadora Martínez-López, María José Martínez-Sánchez and Carmen Pérez-Sirvent
Minerals 2021, 11(6), 594; https://doi.org/10.3390/min11060594 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2670
Abstract
A bibliographic review was carried out to establish the state of knowledge of a mining area with several centuries of exploitation and currently abandoned. The selected case study, the Sierra Minera de Cartagena-La Union (Spain), has a long history of mining activity, ending [...] Read more.
A bibliographic review was carried out to establish the state of knowledge of a mining area with several centuries of exploitation and currently abandoned. The selected case study, the Sierra Minera de Cartagena-La Union (Spain), has a long history of mining activity, ending in 1990. The area is rich in metallic sulphide (lead, zinc and iron), with underground mines and quarries. The zone is very close to important populations and affects protected sites of special ecological value. It is also adjacent to areas dedicated to agriculture and important centres of tourist interest. It is a territory that meets the requirements to be classified as a critical area, as it is in a state of unstable physical and geochemical equilibrium, giving rise to possible risks to human health and ecosystems. A literature review was carried out according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) methodology criteria, consulting a large number of related publications. The results obtained using the Source-Pathway-Receptor model make it possible to identify the main impacts caused by the contamination sources, the main routes of contamination, as well as the transfer to the biota and the influence on adjacent agricultural soils. In this study, lead, cadmium, zinc, arsenic, copper and manganese were considered as potential toxic elements (PTEs), and data were obtained on concentrations in soil, water and air as well as in fauna and flora. Finally, once the receptors and the associated risks to the ecosystem and human health were identified, a conceptual model of the contamination was drawn up to consider a management proposal to tackle the problems associated with this area, which would also be applicable to critical mining zones. Full article
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