Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 31, pp 31666–31678 | Cite as

Total and available metal concentrations in soils from six long-term fertilization sites across China

  • Dong-Xing Guan
  • Fu-Sheng Sun
  • Guang-Hui YuEmail author
  • Matthew L. Polizzotto
  • Yun-Gen Liu
Research Article


Approximately 19% of agricultural soils in China are contaminated by heavy metals. However, the effects of agricultural management practices on soil contamination are not well understood. Taking advantage of six long-term (23–34 years) field sites across China, this study examined the effects of different agricultural fertilization treatments, including control (no fertilization), inorganic nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilization (NPK), manure fertilization (M), and NPK plus manure fertilization (NPKM), on the total and available metal concentrations in soils. The results showed that after 23–34 years of fertilization, the M and NPKM treatments significantly increased the total concentration of cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn) in soils compared with the concentrations measured for the control and NPK treatments. In contrast, the fertilization treatments had almost no influence on soil lead (Pb) and nickel (Ni) concentrations. The results of analysis via diffusive gradients in thin films demonstrated that long-term sheep or cattle manure fertilization increased the available metals, especially Cd, Cu, and Zn, but long-term swine manure application decreased the available metals, except for Cu and Zn, in soils. Further analysis revealed that the manure source, soil pH level, and biogeochemical properties of metals affected the availability of Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn, and Ni in soils. Collectively, organic fertilizers had the potential to reduce metal uptake by crops, but caution should be taken to reduce metal concentrations in manure.


Bioavailability Diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) Heavy metals Long-term fertilization experiment Organic manures 


Funding information

This work was funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFD0800803) and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2016M601770 and 2017T100350).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Surficial Geochemistry, Ministry of Education, School of Earth Sciences and EngineeringNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Institute of Surface-Earth System ScienceTianjin UniversityTianjinChina
  3. 3.Jiangsu Provincial Key Lab for Organic Solid Waste Utilization, College of Resources & Environmental SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina
  4. 4.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  5. 5.Research Center for Soil Contamination & Environment RemediationSouthwest Forestry UniversityKunmingChina

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