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Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 171–180 | Cite as

Near-infrared spectroscopy for analysis of chemical and microbiological properties of forest soil organic horizons in a heavy-metal-polluted area

  • Marcin ChodakEmail author
  • Maria Niklińska
  • Friedrich Beese
Original Paper

Abstract

In industrial areas, heavy metals may accumulate in forest soil organic horizons, affecting soil microorganisms and causing changes in the chemical composition of the accumulated organic matter. The objectives of this study were to test the ability of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to detect heavy metal effects on the chemical composition of forest soil O horizons and to test whether NIRS may be used to quantitatively determine total and exchangeable concentrations of Zn and Pb (Znt, Pbt, Znex, Pbex) and other chemical and microbial properties in forest soil O horizons polluted with heavy metals. The samples of O horizons (n = 79) were analyzed for organic C (Corg), total N and S (Nt, St), Znt, Pbt, Znex, Pbex, basal respiration (BR), microbial biomass (Cmic) and Cmic-to-Corg ratio. Spectra of the samples were recorded in the Vis-NIR range (400–2,500 nm). To detect heavy-metal-induced changes in the chemical composition of O horizons principal components (PC1–PC7) based on the spectral data were regressed against Znt + Pbt values. A modified partial least squares method was used to develop calibration models for prediction of various chemical and microbial properties of the samples from their spectra. Regression analysis revealed a significant relationship between PC3 and PC5 (r = −0.27 and −0.34, respectively) and Znt + Pbt values, indicating an effect of heavy metal pollution on the spectral properties of the O horizons and thus on their chemical composition. For quantitative estimations, the best calibration model was obtained for Corg-to-Nt ratio (r = 0.98). The models for Corg, Nt, and microbial properties were satisfactory but less accurate. NIRS failed to accurately predict St, Corg-to-St, Znt, Pbt, Znex, and Pbex.

Keywords

Forest soil organic horizons Soil microbial biomass Basal respiration NIR spectroscopy Heavy metal pollution 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The study was financed by the IBAES European Community Centre of Excellence at the Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University. Marcin Chodak acknowledges the financial support of the European Science Foundation, The Role of Soils in the Terrestrial Carbon Balance (RSTCB) Program, Grant No. 670.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcin Chodak
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maria Niklińska
    • 2
  • Friedrich Beese
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Open-strip MiningAGH University of Science and TechnologyKrakówPoland
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental SciencesJagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland
  3. 3.Institute of Soil Science and Forest NutritionUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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