Mobility of some heavy metals in soil-plant systems studied on soil monoliths

T. Nemeth, E. Molnar, J. Csillag, K. Bujtas, A. Lukacs, G. Partay, J. Feher, M. Van Genuchten Th.

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

4 Citations (Scopus)


The soil can act as a natural buffer by retaining toxic materials present in municipal and industrial wastes and sewage sludges. Countries of Eastern Europe currently have a limited industrial infrastructure for recycling wastes. One of the most rational and economic ways for these countries to dispose of their waste waters and sludges is to apply them to agricultural fields, thereby utilizing also their nutrient content. A U.S.-Hungarian research project was recently started with the aim of studying the fate and transport of selected heavy metals in the soil profile of cropped undisturbed soil monoliths. Preliminary experiments were carried out to study the adsorption-desorption processes of these chemicals on disturbed soil samples, and to investigate the plant-availability of different metal forms. Concentrations of Zn, Pb, Cr and Cd in the soil solution were found to decrease with increasing soil moisture content and length of the adsorption period, both showing hyperbolic relationships. Lower soil moisture contents increased both the solution concentrations and the adsorbed concentrations of the elements. Release of adsorbed Zn and Cd was higher than that of Pb and Cr. Higher plant-availability of inorganic forms of Ni correlated with a higher phytotoxicity as compared to Ni applied in sewage sludge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-398
Number of pages10
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number3-5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1993
EventProceedings of the IAWQ 1st International Conference on Diffuse (Nonpoint) Pollution: Sources, Prevention, Impact, Abatement - Chicago, IL, USA
Duration: Sep 19 1993Sep 24 1993



  • Heavy metals
  • Phytotoxicity
  • Plant-availability
  • Quadrupole mass spectrometry
  • Solute transport
  • Time-domain reflectometry (TDR)
  • Undisturbed soil monoliths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Nemeth, T., Molnar, E., Csillag, J., Bujtas, K., Lukacs, A., Partay, G., Feher, J., & Van Genuchten Th., M. (1993). Mobility of some heavy metals in soil-plant systems studied on soil monoliths. Water Science and Technology, 28(3-5), 389-398.