Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 186, Issue 7, pp 4431–4442 | Cite as

Pedogenesis and nickel biogeochemistry in a typical Albanian ultramafic toposequence

  • Aida Bani
  • Guillaume Echevarria
  • Emmanuelle Montargès-Pelletier
  • Fran Gjoka
  • Sulejman Sulçe
  • Jean Louis Morel


This study aimed at relating the variability of Ni biogeochemistry along the ultramafic toposequence to pedogenesis and soil mineralogy. Hypereutric Cambisols dominate upslope; Cambic Vertisols and Fluvic Cambisols occur downslope. The soil mineralogy showed abundance of primary serpentine all over the sequence. It is predominant upslope but secondary smectites dominate in the Vertisols. Free Fe-oxides are abundant in all soils but slightly more abundant in the upslope soils. Whereas serpentines hold Ni in a similar and restricted range in every soil (approx. 0.3 %), Ni contents in smectites may vary a lot and Mg-rich and Al-poor smectites in the Vertisol could hold up to 4.9 % Ni. Ni was probably adsorbed onto amorphous Fe-oxides and was also exchangeable in secondary smectites. High availability of Ni in soils was confirmed by DTPA extractions. However, it varied significantly along the toposequence, being higher in upslope soils, where Ni-bearing amorphous Fe-oxides were abundant and total organic carbon higher and sensibly lower downslope on the Vertisols: NiDTPA varied from 285 mg kg−1 in the surface of soil I (upslope) to 95.9 mg kg−1 in the surface of Fluvic Cambisols. Concentration of Ni in Alyssum murale shoots varied from 0.7 % (Hypereutric Cambisols) to 1.4 % (Hypereutric Vertisol). Amazingly, Ni uptake by A. murale was not correlated to NiDTPA, suggesting the existence of specific edaphic conditions that affect the ecophysiology of A. murale upslope.


Serpentine soil Bioavailability Soil mineralogy Alyssum murale Hyperaccumulation 



This work was supported by the French Embassy in Tirana who provided a grant to Prof. Aida Bani for her PhD and by the French National Research Agency through the national “Investissements d’avenir” programme, reference ANR-10-LABX-21 (LABEX RESSOURCES21).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aida Bani
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Guillaume Echevarria
    • 2
    • 3
  • Emmanuelle Montargès-Pelletier
    • 4
  • Fran Gjoka
    • 1
  • Sulejman Sulçe
    • 1
  • Jean Louis Morel
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Agro-Environmental Department, Faculty of Agronomy and EnvironmentAgricultural University of TiranaKoder-KamezAlbania
  2. 2.Laboratoire Sols et EnvironnementUniversité de LorraineVandœuvre lès NancyFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire Sols et EnvironnementVandœuvre lès NancyFrance
  4. 4.Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire des Environnements ContinentauxUniversité de Lorraine-CNRSVandœuvre lès NancyFrance

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