Urban soils are often mixed with extraneous materials and show a high spatial variability that determine great differences from their agricultural or natural counterparts. The soils of 18 localities of a medium-sized city (Ancona, Italy) were analysed for their main physicochemical and biological properties, and for chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), cobalt (Co), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), zinc (Zn), and mercury (Hg) total content, distribution among particle-size fractions, and extractability. Because of the absence of thresholds defining a hot spot for heavy metal pollution in urban soils, we defined a “threshold of attention” (ToA) for each heavy metal aiming to bring out hot spot soils where it is more impellent to intervene to mitigate or avoid potential environmental concerns. In several city locations, the soil displayed sub-alkaline pH, large contents of clay-size particles, and higher TOC, total N, and available P with respect to the surrounding rural areas, joined with high contents of total heavy metals, but low availability. The C biomass, basal respiration, qCO2, and enzyme activities were compared to that detected in the near rural soils, and results suggested that heavy metals content has not substantially compromised the soil ecological services. We conclude that ToA can be considered as a valuable tool to highlight soil hot spots especially for cities with a long material history and, for a proper risk assessment in urban soils, we suggest considering the content of available heavy metals (rather than the total content) and soil functions.

Heavy metal load and effects on biochemical properties in urban soils of a medium-sized city, Ancona, Italy / Serrani, D.; Ajmone-Marsan, F.; Corti, G.; Cocco, S.; Cardelli, V.; Adamo, P.. - In: ENVIRONMENTAL GEOCHEMISTRY AND HEALTH. - ISSN 0269-4042. - ELETTRONICO. - (2021). [10.1007/s10653-021-01105-8]

Heavy metal load and effects on biochemical properties in urban soils of a medium-sized city, Ancona, Italy

Serrani D.
;
Corti G.;Cocco S.;Cardelli V.;
2021-01-01

Abstract

Urban soils are often mixed with extraneous materials and show a high spatial variability that determine great differences from their agricultural or natural counterparts. The soils of 18 localities of a medium-sized city (Ancona, Italy) were analysed for their main physicochemical and biological properties, and for chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), cobalt (Co), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), zinc (Zn), and mercury (Hg) total content, distribution among particle-size fractions, and extractability. Because of the absence of thresholds defining a hot spot for heavy metal pollution in urban soils, we defined a “threshold of attention” (ToA) for each heavy metal aiming to bring out hot spot soils where it is more impellent to intervene to mitigate or avoid potential environmental concerns. In several city locations, the soil displayed sub-alkaline pH, large contents of clay-size particles, and higher TOC, total N, and available P with respect to the surrounding rural areas, joined with high contents of total heavy metals, but low availability. The C biomass, basal respiration, qCO2, and enzyme activities were compared to that detected in the near rural soils, and results suggested that heavy metals content has not substantially compromised the soil ecological services. We conclude that ToA can be considered as a valuable tool to highlight soil hot spots especially for cities with a long material history and, for a proper risk assessment in urban soils, we suggest considering the content of available heavy metals (rather than the total content) and soil functions.
2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11566/297589
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