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Distribution and mobility of exogenous copper as influenced by aging and components interactions in three Chinese soils

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Copper contamination of soils is a global environmental problem. Soil components (organic matter, clay minerals, and microorganisms) and retention time can govern the adsorption, fixation, and distribution of copper. This study evaluated the interaction effects of soil components and aging on the distribution of exogenous copper. Three typical Chinese soils (Ultisol, Alfisol, and Histosol) were collected from Hunan, Henan, and Heilongjiang Provinces. Soils were incubated with rice straw (RS) and engineered bacteria (Pseudomonas putida X4/pIME) in the presence of exogenous copper for 12 months. Sequential extraction was employed to obtain the distribution of Cu species in soils, and the mobility factors of Cu were calculated. The relationships between soil properties and Cu fractions were analyzed with stepwise multiple linear regression. The results show that organic carbon plays a more important role in shaping the distribution of relatively mobile Cu, and iron oxides can be more critical in stabilizing Cu species in soils. Our results suggest that organic matter is the most important factor influencing copper partitioning in Ultisols, while iron oxides are more significant in Alfisols. The mobility of exogenous Cu in soils depends largely on organic carbon, amorphous Fe, and aging. The introduction of both rice straw and rice straw + engineered bacteria enhanced the stabilization of Cu in all the three soils during aging process. The introduction of bacteria could reduce copper mobility, which was indicated by the lowest mobility factors of Cu for the treatment with bacteria in Black, Red, and Cinnamon soils at the first 4, 8, and 8 months, respectively. Different measures should be taken into account regarding the content of organic matter and iron oxides depending on soil types for the risk assessment and remediation of Cu-contaminated soils.

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This work was financed by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (No. 41230854), National Key Research and Development Program (2017YFA0605001), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2662015PY016, 2662015PY116).

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Correspondence to Qiaoyun Huang.

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Responsible editor: Zhihong Xu

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Shi, H., Li, Q., Chen, W. et al. Distribution and mobility of exogenous copper as influenced by aging and components interactions in three Chinese soils. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 10771–10781 (2018).

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  • Exogenous Cu
  • Distribution
  • Mobility factor (MF)
  • Organic carbon
  • Iron oxides
  • Aging