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Lead toxicity thresholds in 17 Chinese soils based on substrate-induced nitrification assay

Ji Li , Yizong Huang , Ying Hu , Shulan Jin , Qiongli Bao , Fei Wang , Meng Xiang , Huiting Xie


Received June 05, 2015,Revised August 25, 2015, Accepted September 01, 2015, Available online January 29, 2016

Volume 28,2016,Pages 131-140

The influence of soil properties on toxicity threshold values for Pb toward soil microbial processes is poorly recognized. The impact of leaching on the Pb threshold has not been assessed systematically. Lead toxicity was screened in 17 Chinese soils using a substrate-induced nitrification (SIN) assay under both leached and unleached conditions. The effective concentration of added Pb causing 50% inhibition (EC50) ranged from 185 to > 2515 mg/kg soil for leached soil and 130 to > 2490 mg/kg soil for unleached soil. These results represented > 13- and > 19-fold variations among leached and unleached soils, respectively. Leaching significantly reduced Pb toxicity for 70% of both alkaline and acidic soils tested, with an average leaching factor of 3.0. Soil pH and CEC were the two most useful predictors of Pb toxicity in soils, explaining over 90% of variance in the unleached EC50 value. The relationships established in the present study predicted Pb toxicity within a factor of two of measured values. These relationships between Pb toxicity and soil properties could be used to establish site-specific guidance on Pb toxicity thresholds.

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