Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 339–348 | Cite as

Assessing the influence of technosol and biochar amendments combined with Brassica juncea L. on the fractionation of Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in a polluted mine soil

  • Alfonso Rodríguez-Vila
  • Verónica Asensio
  • Rubén Forján
  • Emma F. Covelo
Soils, Sec 1 • Soil Organic Matter Dynamics and Nutrient Cycling • Research Article



Soil metal pollution is a widespread problem around the world and remediation of these soils is difficult. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of two different strategies on the chemical fractions of metals in a soil of a depleted copper mine: (1) amending with a mixture of a technosol made of wastes and biochar and (2) amending combined with planting vegetation (Brassica juncea).

Materials and methods

A 3-month greenhouse experiment was carried out to evaluate the effects of organic amendments and vegetation on the metal fractionation of Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in a mine soil of the depleted copper mine at Touro (Spain). We compared the influence of organic amendments alone (technosol + biochar) and combined with mustard plants (Brassica juncea L.).

Results and discussion

The results showed that amending with a technosol made of wastes promoted plant growth (from 0.7 to 2.9 g of biomass produced) and reduced the CaCl2-extractable metal concentration in soil, reduced the mobility factor of Cu from 18.3 to 1.6, Ni from 47.5 to 2.3 and Pb from 17.9 to 2.1, and also reduced the concentration of metals in the mobile soil fractions. It was not possible to grow up Brassica juncea plants in the untreated settling pond soil due to the extremely degraded conditions of that soil. However, the application of the used technosol increased the Pb and Zn pseudototal concentrations in the amended soils.


We conclude that the combination of amending with wastes and planting B. juncea provides little additional benefit for remediating a metal-polluted soil compared with incorporation of wastes alone.


Biochar Brassica juncea Metal fractionation Mine soil Technosol 



This study was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Education through project CGL2009-07843.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest. The present research did not involve human participants and/or animals.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfonso Rodríguez-Vila
    • 1
  • Verónica Asensio
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rubén Forján
    • 1
  • Emma F. Covelo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant Biology and Soil Science, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of VigoVigoSpain
  2. 2.Department of Plant Nutrition, CENAUniversidade de São Paulo (CENA-USP)PiracicabaBrazil

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