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Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

Volume 191 of the series Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology pp 47-89

Impact of Soil Properties on Critical Concentrations of Cadmium, Lead, Copper, Zinc, and Mercury in Soil and Soil Solution in View of Ecotoxicological Effects

  • Wim de VriesAffiliated withAlterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre
  • , Steve LoftsAffiliated withLibrary Avenue, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Lancaster)
  • , Ed TippingAffiliated withLibrary Avenue, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Lancaster)
  • , Markus MeiliAffiliated withDepartment of Applied Environmental Science (ITM), Stockholm University
  • , Jan E. GroenenbergAffiliated withAlterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre
  • , Gudrun SchützeAffiliated withÖKO-DATA—Ecosystem Analysis and Environmental Data Management

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Abstract

Concern about the input of metals to terrestrial ecosystems is related to (i) the ecotoxicological impact on soil organisms and plants (Bringmark et al. 1998; Palmborg et al. 1998) and also on aquatic organisms resulting from runoff to surface water and (ii) the uptake via food chains into animal tissues and products, which may result in health effects on animals and humans (Clark 1989). Effects on soil organisms, including microorganisms/macrofungi and soil fauna, such as nematodes and earthworms, are reduced species diversity, abundance, and biomass and changes in microbe-mediated processes (Bengtsson and Tranvik 1989; Giller et al. 1998; Vig et al. 2003). Effects on vascular plants include reduced development and growth of roots and shoots, elevated concentrations of starch and total sugar, decreased nutrient contents in foliar tissues, and decreased enzymatic activity (Prasad 1995; Das et al. 1997). A review of these phytotoxic effects is given by Balsberg-Påhlsson (1989). Effects on aquatic organisms, including algae, Crustacea, and fish, include effects on gill function (Sola et al. 1995), nervous systems (Baatrup 1991), and growth and reproduction rates (Mance 1987). Environmental quality standards or critical limits, often also denoted as Predicted No Effect Concentrations, or PNECs, for metals in soils and surface waters related to those effects serve as a guide in the environmental risk assessment process for those substances.