Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Distribution and possible immobilization of lead in a forest soil (Luvisol) profile*

  • Péter Sipos
  • Tibor Németh
  • Ilona Mohai


Geochemical analyses using a sequential extraction method and lead adsorption studies were carried out in order to characterize the distribution and adsorption of lead on each genetic horizon of a Luvisol profile developed on a pelagic clayey aleurolite. Clay illuviation is the most important pedogenic process in the profile studied. Its clay mineralogy is characterized by chlorite/vermiculite species with increasing chlorite component downward. The amount of carbonate minerals strongly increases in the lower part of the profile resulting in an abrupt rise in soil pH within a small distance. The Pb content of the soil profile exceeds the natural geochemical background only in the Ao horizon, and its amount decreases with depth in the profile without correcting for differences in bulk density, suggesting the binding of Pb to soil organic matter. According to the sequential extraction analysis the organic matter and carbonate content of the soil have the most significant effect on lead distribution. This effect varies in the different soil horizons. Lead adsorption experiments were carried out on whole soil samples, soil clay fractions, as well as on their carbonate and organic matter free variant. The different soil horizons adsorb lead to different extents depending on their organic matter, clay mineral and carbonate content; and the mineralogical features of soil clays significantly affect their lead adsorption capacity. The clay fraction adsorbs 25 more lead than the whole soil, while in the calcareous subsoil a significant proportion of lead is precipitated due to the alkaline conditions. 10 and 5 of adsorbed Pb can be leached with distilled water in the organic matter and clay mineral dominated soil horizons, respectively. These results suggest that soil organic matter plays a decisive role in the adsorption of Pb, but the fixation by clay minerals is stronger.

Key words

adsorption geochemistry lead Luvisol sequential extraction 



carbonate free


clay fraction


clay minerals


organic matter


organic matter free


whole soil


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Geochemical ResearchHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Research Laboratory of Material and Environmental Chemistry, Chemical Research CenterHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary

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