The effect of low-molecular-weight organic-acids (LMWOAs) on treatment of chromium-contaminated soils by compost-phytoremediation: Kinetics of the chromium release and fractionation

Huixia Chen , Junfeng Dou , Hongbin Xu


Received June 08, 2017,Revised , Accepted November 09, 2017, Available online November 20, 2017

Volume 30,2018,Pages 45-53

A soil–plant biological system was developed from chromium (Cr) polluted soil treated by the compost-phytoremediation method. The transformation and migration of the Cr in this system is comprehensively studied in this research. The results illustrated that the co-composting treatment can reduce the Cr availability from 39% (F1 was about 31% of total, F2 was about 8% of total) to less than 2% by stabilizing the Cr. However, herbaceous plants can accumulate the concentrations of Cr from 113.8 to 265.2 mg/kg in the two crops, even though the concentration of soluble Cr in the substrate soil was below 0.1 mg/L. Cr can be assimilated and easily transferred in the tissues of plants because the low-molecular-weight organic-acids (LMWOAs) derived from the plant root increase the bioavailability of Cr. The amount of extracted Cr dramatically increased when the organic acids were substituted in this order: citric acid > malic acid > tartaric acid > oxalic acid > acetic acid. On average the maximum (147.4 mg/kg) and the minimum (78.75 mg/kg) Cr were extracted by 20 mmol/L citric acid and acetic acid, respectively. The desorption of Cr in different acid solutions can be predicted by the pseudo second-order kinetics. The exchangeable Cr, carbonate-bound Cr, and residual Cr decreased, while Fe–Mn oxide bound Cr and organic bound Cr increased in the soil solid phase. According to the experimental results, the organic acids will promote the desorption and chelation processes of Cr, leading to the remobilization of Cr in the soil.

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