Plant and Soil

, Volume 155, Issue 1, pp 251-254

First online:

Use of GEOCHEM-PC to predict rare earth element (REE) species in nutrient solutions

  • E. DiatloffAffiliated withCSIRO Division of Tropical Crops and Pastures
  • , C. J. AsherAffiliated withDepartment of Agriculture, University of Queensland
  • , F. W. SmithAffiliated withCSIRO Division of Tropical Crops and Pastures

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The interpretation of results of some experiments examining effects of rare earth elements (REE) on plant growth may have been complicated by rare earth phosphate precipitation. Simulations were undertaken using the computer model GEOCHEM-PC to define REE solubility limits and predict REE species in low and high ionic strength nutrient solutions. In low ionic strength solutions containing 5 μM P, lanthanum phosphate (LaPO4) precipitation is predicted to occur at solution pH>4.0, reaching a maximum (>95% of total) at pH 5.5. In high ionic strength solutions (1000 μM P) over 95% of the La is predicted to precipitate as phosphate at pH>4.0. The predicted behaviour of cerium (Ce) was closely similar to that for La.

At pH 5.5, the concentration of REE species in solution can be increased only after virtually all the P has been precipitated. Consequently, it is important to consider REE-P interactions in nutrient solutions when investigating REE effects on plant growth.

Key words

cerium computer simulation lanthanum nutrient solutions phosphate precipitation REE species