Plant and Soil

, Volume 318, Issue 1–2, pp 257–268 | Cite as

Rhizosphere alkalisation — a major driver of copper bioavailability over a broad pH range in an acidic, copper-contaminated soil

  • M. N. Bravin
  • A. L. Martí
  • M. Clairotte
  • P. HinsingerEmail author
Regular Article


The impact of a large rhizosphere alkalisation on copper (Cu) bioavailability to durum wheat (Triticum turgidum durum L.) initially exposed to a broad range of bulk soil pH (4.8–7.5) was studied. Plants were exposed to a Cu-contaminated soil treated with eight levels of lime (Ca(OH)2) and supplied with NO3 or NH4 +-NO3 . Nitrate-fed plants strongly increased their rhizosphere pH to about 6.9–7.6, whatever the initial pH. NH4 +-NO3 -fed plants slightly acidified their rhizosphere down to 3.9. Free Cu2+ concentration in the rhizosphere was 3 orders of magnitude larger for NH4 +-NO3 than NO3 fed plants. Consequently, Cu bioavailability was 2.4- to 4.2-fold larger for NH4 +−NO3 -fed plants which demonstrates the importance of rhizosphere alkalisation to restrict metal bioavailability in acidic soils. Copper bioavailability of NO3 -fed plants initially exposed to a broad range of bulk soil pH was insensitive to bulk soil pH, as rhizosphere pH was ultimately neutral in any case.


Acidic soil Alkalisation Phytoavailability Copper Durum wheat (Triticum turgidum durum L.) 



Edith Le Cadre-Barthélémy is acknowledged for her advices for estimating soil pH buffering capacity. Nicole Balsera, Joëlle Toucet-Louri and Bruno Buatois are also thanked for technical support. Pierre Berthomieu is acknowledged for providing free access to F-AAS. Financial support was provided by the PNETOX programme of the French Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. N. Bravin
    • 1
  • A. L. Martí
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Clairotte
    • 1
  • P. Hinsinger
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.INRAUMR 1222 Biogéochimie du Sol et de la Rhizosphère (INRA-SupAgro)MontpellierFrance
  2. 2.Universidad Politécnica de ValenciaValenciaSpain

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