Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 20, Issue 9, pp 6392–6405 | Cite as

Metal extractability patterns to evaluate (potentially) mobile fractions in periurban calcareous agricultural soils in the Mediterranean area—analytical and mineralogical approaches

  • Ana de Santiago-Martín
  • Inmaculada Valverde-Asenjo
  • Jose R. Quintana
  • Antonio Vázquez
  • Antonio L. Lafuente
  • Concepción González-Huecas
Research Article


A set of periurban calcareous agricultural Mediterranean soils was spiked with a mixture of Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn at two levels within the limit values proposed by current European legislation, incubated for up to 12 months, and subjected to various one-step extraction procedures to estimate mobile (neutral salts) and potentially mobile metal fractions (complexing and acidic extraction methods). The results obtained were used to study metal extractability patterns according to the soil characteristics. The analytical data were coupled with mineralogical investigations and speciation modelling using the Visual Minteq model. The formation of soluble metal-complexes in the complexing extracts (predicted by the Visual Minteq calculations) led to the highest extraction efficiency with complexing extractants. Metal extractability patterns were related to both content and composition of carbonate, organic matter, Fe oxide and clay fractions. Potentially mobile metal fractions were mainly affected by the finest soil fractions (recalcitrant organic matter, active lime and clay minerals). In the case of Pb, scarce correlations between extractable Pb and soil constituents were obtained which was attributed to high Pb retention due to the formation of 4PbCO3·3PbO (corroborated by X-ray diffraction). In summary, the high metal proportion extracted with complexing agents highlighted the high but finite capacity to store potentially mobilizable metals and the possible vulnerability of these soils against environmental impact from metal accumulation.


Calcareous soil One-step extractions Speciation modelling Mineralogical composition Soil pollution 



This work was supported by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Madrid Autonomous Region through Grant GR58/08, Research Team 950605 and Network CARESOIL, Ref. P2009/AMB-1648. We especially wish to thank Miguel Juanco Ortenbach (Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC) and Julián Velázquez Cano (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, UCM) for their helpful advice on mineralogical analysis, Ms Pru Brooke-Turner for the revision of the English version of the manuscript and the comments and suggestions of the editor and the anonymous referees.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana de Santiago-Martín
    • 1
  • Inmaculada Valverde-Asenjo
    • 1
  • Jose R. Quintana
    • 1
  • Antonio Vázquez
    • 2
  • Antonio L. Lafuente
    • 1
  • Concepción González-Huecas
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Edafología, Facultad de FarmaciaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Centro de Investigación Forestal-INIAMadridSpain

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