Special Issue "Assessment and Remediation of Soils Contaminated by Potentially Toxic Elements (PTE)"

A special issue of Soil Systems (ISSN 2571-8789).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Matteo Spagnuolo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences, University of Bari “A. Moro”, 70126 Bari, Italy
Interests: potentially toxic elements; X-ray spectroscopic techniques; synchrotron techniques; solidification/stabilization; bioavailability and bioaccessibility; biomarkers; bioindicators; ecotoxicity
Prof. Dr. Paola Adamo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Napoli “Federico II”, 80055 Portici (Napoli), Italy
Interests: soil contamination; potentially toxic elements; speciation; sequential extractions; bioavailability; bioaccessibility; microscopical and microanalytical techniques
Dr. Giovanni Garau
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, University of Sassari, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: PTE-polluted soils; PTE mobility, toxicity, and bioavailability; impact of PTE on the structure and function of soil microbial communities; soil enzyme activity; use of amendments for the recovery of PTE-polluted soils; assisted phytoremediation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Potentially toxic elements (PTE) can cause significant damage to the environment and human health in function of their mobility and bioavailability. Given the urgency to remediate polluted soils all over the world, appropriate innovative and sustainable remediation strategies need to be developed, assessed, and promoted.

Before that, a detailed knowledge of PTE bioavailability and bioaccessibility as well as of soil processes affecting the contaminant dynamics in terms of lixiviation, colloidal transport, redox conditions, or microbial activity is essential in order to assess the actual danger/risk posed by contamination. It is widely recognized that bioavailability of toxic elements in soils depends on their solubility and geochemical forms, rather than on their origin and total concentration. Therefore, the knowledge of their spatial distribution and chemical speciation in soil is of paramount importance to perform an accurate risk assessment. Investigating these aspects requires the use of analytical techniques able to solve the high complexity of the soil matrix with a spatial resolution down to the micrometer- or even nanometer-scale.

In addition, a correct evaluation of a remediation intervention requires a detailed knowledge of the geochemical forms into which PTE have been converted following the soil treatment. This information is crucial to predict any possible transformation PTEs might naturally undergo over time or as consequence of physical-chemical perturbations that might impact the soil system.

The aim of this Special Issue is to address all the above reported aspects, i.e., the assessment of PTE contamination in soil systems using innovative approaches, the study of soil processes affecting pollutant dynamics and the application of new sustainable remediation techniques for the long-term reduction of the threat posed by PTE towards the health of the environment.

Dr. Matteo Spagnuolo
Prof. Dr. Paola Adamo
Dr. Giovanni Garau
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Soil Systems is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Potentially toxic elements
  • Soil contamination
  • Risk assessment
  • Bioavailability
  • Bioaccessibility
  • Soil processes
  • PTE distribution patterns
  • Spectroscopic techniques
  • Speciation techniques
  • PTE stabilization
  • PTE phytoextraction
  • Phytoremediation

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Enhanced Lead Phytoextraction by Endophytes from Indigenous Plants
Soil Syst. 2021, 5(3), 55; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/soilsystems5030055 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 264
Abstract
Lead (Pb) is one of the most common metal pollutants in soil, and phytoextraction is a sustainable and cost-effective way to remove it. The purpose of this work was to develop a phytoextraction strategy able to efficiently remove Pb from the soil of [...] Read more.
Lead (Pb) is one of the most common metal pollutants in soil, and phytoextraction is a sustainable and cost-effective way to remove it. The purpose of this work was to develop a phytoextraction strategy able to efficiently remove Pb from the soil of a decommissioned fuel depot located in Italy by the combined use of EDTA and endophytic bacteria isolated from indigenous plants. A total of 12 endophytic strains from three native species (Lotus cornicolatus, Sonchus tenerrimus, Bromus sterilis) were isolated and selected to prepare a microbial consortium used to inoculate microcosms of Brassica juncea and Helianthus annuus. As for B. juncea, experimental data showed that treatment with microbial inoculum alone was the most effective in improving Pb phytoextraction in shoots (up to 25 times more than the control). In H. annuus, on the other hand, the most effective treatment was the combined treatment (EDTA and inoculum) with up to three times more Pb uptake values. These results, also validated by the metagenomic analysis, confirm that plant-microbe interaction is a crucial key point in phytoremediation. Full article
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Article
Initial Study on Phytoextraction for Recovery of Metals from Sorted and Aged Waste-to-Energy Bottom Ash
Soil Syst. 2021, 5(3), 53; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/soilsystems5030053 - 31 Aug 2021
Viewed by 230
Abstract
Sorted and aged bottom ash from Waste-to-Energy plants, i.e., MIBA (the Mineral fraction of Incinerator Bottom Ash) are potential source of metals that could be utilized to meet the increased demand from society. In this work, sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) and rapeseed [...] Read more.
Sorted and aged bottom ash from Waste-to-Energy plants, i.e., MIBA (the Mineral fraction of Incinerator Bottom Ash) are potential source of metals that could be utilized to meet the increased demand from society. In this work, sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) and rapeseed (Brassica napus) were cultivated in conventional MIBA to evaluate the possibility for phytoextraction, mainly of Zn, during the period of one cultivation season in the Nordic climate. The results show that metal extraction from MIBA using rapeseed and sunflowers is workable but that neither of the used plants is optimal, mainly due to the inhibited root development and low water- and nutrient-holding capacities of MIBA. The addition of fertilizer is also important for growth. There was a simultaneous accumulation of numerous metals in both plant types, and the highest metal content was generally found in the roots. Calculations indicated that the ash from rapeseed root incineration contained about 2% Zn, and the contents of Co, Cu, and Pb were comparable to those in workable ores. This initial study shows that cultivation in and phytoextraction on MIBA is possible, and that the potential for increased metal extraction is high. Full article
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Article
Spatial Analysis of Soil Trace Element Contaminants in Urban Public Open Space, Perth, Western Australia
Soil Syst. 2021, 5(3), 46; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/soilsystems5030046 - 14 Aug 2021
Viewed by 366
Abstract
Public recreation areas in cities may be constructed on land which has been contaminated by various processes over the history of urbanisation. Charles Veryard and Smith’s Lake Reserves are adjacent parklands in Perth, Western Australia with a history of horticulture, waste disposal and [...] Read more.
Public recreation areas in cities may be constructed on land which has been contaminated by various processes over the history of urbanisation. Charles Veryard and Smith’s Lake Reserves are adjacent parklands in Perth, Western Australia with a history of horticulture, waste disposal and other potential sources of contamination. Surface soil and soil profiles in the Reserves were sampled systematically and analysed for multiple major and trace elements. Spatial analysis was performed using interpolation and Local Moran’s I to define geochemical zones which were confirmed by means comparison and principal components analyses. The degree of contamination of surface soil in the Reserves with As, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn was low. Greater concentrations of As, Cu, Pb, and Zn were present at depth in some soil profiles, probably related to historical waste disposal in the Reserves. The results show distinct advantages to using spatial statistics at the site investigation scale, and for measuring multiple elements not just potential contaminants. Full article
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Article
Phytoextraction of Heavy Metals by Various Vegetable Crops Cultivated on Different Textured Soils Irrigated with City Wastewater
Soil Syst. 2021, 5(2), 35; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/soilsystems5020035 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 495
Abstract
A challenging task in urban or suburban agriculture is the sustainability of soil health when utilizing city wastewater, or its dilutes, for growing crops. A two-year field experiment was conducted to evaluate the comparative vegetable transfer factors (VTF) for four effluent-irrigated vegetable crops [...] Read more.
A challenging task in urban or suburban agriculture is the sustainability of soil health when utilizing city wastewater, or its dilutes, for growing crops. A two-year field experiment was conducted to evaluate the comparative vegetable transfer factors (VTF) for four effluent-irrigated vegetable crops (brinjal, spinach, cauliflower, and lettuce) grown on six study sites (1 acre each), equally divided into two soil textures (sandy loam and clay loam). Comparisons of the VTF factors showed spinach was a significant and the best phytoextractant, having the highest heavy metal values (Zn = 20.2, Cu = 12.3, Fe = 17.1, Mn = 30.3, Cd = 6.1, Cr = 7.6, Ni = 9.2, and Pb = 6.9), followed by cauliflower and brinjal, while lettuce extracted the lowest heavy metal contents (VTF: lettuce: Zn = 8.9, Cu = 4.2, Fe = 9.6, Mn = 6.6, Cd = 4.7, Cr = 2.9, Ni = 5.5, and Pb = 2.5) in response to the main (site and vegetable) or interactive (site * vegetable) effects. We suggest that, while vegetables irrigated with sewage water may extract toxic heavy metals and remediate soil, seriously hazardous/toxic contents in the vegetables may be a significant source of soil and environmental pollution. Full article
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Article
Heavy Metals Contamination of Urban Soils—A Decade Study in the City of Lisbon, Portugal
Soil Syst. 2021, 5(2), 27; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/soilsystems5020027 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 893
Abstract
There is an intense and continuous growth of the world population living in cities. This increase in population means an increase in car traffic, an increase in new constructions and an increase in the production of waste that translates into an intensive use [...] Read more.
There is an intense and continuous growth of the world population living in cities. This increase in population means an increase in car traffic, an increase in new constructions and an increase in the production of waste that translates into an intensive use of land, particularly in terms of soil contaminants. Among other environmental contaminants, toxic metals, such as lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), nickel (Ni) and chromium (Cr) represent a public health problem. In this study the content of toxic metals in Lisbon’s (Portugal) soils was determined. The study was conducted over approximately a decade in six city locations, with a total of about 700 samples. Each site has different urban characteristics: traffic zone, residential area, urban park and mixed areas. The study allowed to verify the heterogeneity of metal content values in the city soils and their dependence on local traffic. Metal contents were determined by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy (GFAAS). For each site the geo-accumulation index, pollution factor, degree of contamination, pollution load index and ecological risk factor were calculated. The mean concentrations of Cd, Cr, Ni and Pb in soils were 0.463, 44.0, 46.6 and 5.73 mg/kg of dry soil, respectively. In the last year of the study the values were 0.417, 51.5, 62.4 and 8.49 mg/kg of dry soil, respectively. Cd and Ni exceeded the typical content values of these metals in the earth’s crust, indicating their anthropogenic origin. The correlation analysis revealed a significant correlation between Cr and Ni, Cd and Ni and Cd and Pb contents in the city soils. Regarding the results obtained in this long monitoring campaign, Lisbon’s soils can be considered as having low levels of pollution by these metals. Full article
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Article
Integrated Geochemical Assessment of Soils and Stream Sediments to Evaluate Source-Sink Relationships and Background Variations in the Parauapebas River Basin, Eastern Amazon
Soil Syst. 2021, 5(1), 21; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/soilsystems5010021 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 826
Abstract
This study aims to handle an integrated evaluation of soil and stream sediment geochemical data to evaluate source apportionment and to establish geochemical threshold variations for Fe, Al, and 20 selected Potentially Toxic Elements (PTE) in the Parauapebas River Basin (PB), Eastern Amazon. [...] Read more.
This study aims to handle an integrated evaluation of soil and stream sediment geochemical data to evaluate source apportionment and to establish geochemical threshold variations for Fe, Al, and 20 selected Potentially Toxic Elements (PTE) in the Parauapebas River Basin (PB), Eastern Amazon. The data set used in this study is from the Itacaiúnas Geochemical Mapping and Background Project (ItacGMBP), which collected 364 surface soil (0–10 cm) samples and 189 stream sediments samples in the entire PB. The <0.177 mm fraction of these samples were analyzed for 51 elements by ICP-MS and ICP-AES, following an aqua regia digestion. The geochemical maps of many elements revealed substantial differences between the north (NPB) and the south (SPB) of PB, mainly due to the geological setting. The new statistically derived threshold values of the NPB and SPB regions were compared to the threshold of the whole PB, reported in previous studies, and to quality guidelines proposed by Brazilian environmental agencies. The natural variation of geochemical background in soils and stream sediments of PB should be considered prior to defining new guideline values. At the regional scale, the local anomalies are mostly influenced by the predominant lithology rather than any anthropogenic impact. Full article
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