Monitoring and biological evaluation of surface water and soil micropollutants in Hungary

András Székács, Mária Mörtl, Gábor Fekete, Ágnes Fejes, Béla Darvas, Miklós Dombos, Orsolya Szécsy, Attila Anton

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6 Citations (Scopus)


In the development of a complex soil contamination monitoring system including the detection of agriculture-related micropollutants, heavy metal contamination and ecotoxicity, a survey has been carried out in Békés county and at certain water catchment areas in Hungary, using different techniques for the characterisation of soil and surface water status. Besides the representativity optimisation of the sampling technique, instrumental analysis, biological tests (soil biology and aquatic toxicity) were also applied, and results obtained were presented in a spatial informatics system. The target analyte group, indicators and methodology is in compliance with recommendations of the European Environment Agency monitoring working group. Contaminant concentrations of soil profiles have been characterised down to the ground water table. Pesticide residues were monitored by using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Target analytes included triazine, phenoxyacetic acid, acetanilide, dinitroaniline and phosphonomethylglycine type herbicides, chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHCs), organophosphate and carbamate insecticides, an insect hormonal agonist and a triazole fungicide. Besides banned persistent CHC insecticides (DDT, HCH, etc.), atrazine and acetochlor herbicides are common contaminants in Hungary, reaching 200 ng/g and 300 ng/mL concentration in the soil and surface water samples studied, and trifluralin, glyphosate and metolachlor were also detected in some cases. Heavy metal and other microelement contamination was detected by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy, and within-plot heterogeneities were studied throughout soil profiles. Nickel has been found as a relatively common contaminant in arable lands in the area, however, relation of the contamination pattern to fertiliser usage in the region could not be confirmed. Total microbiological activity was analysed by using fluoresce in diacetate (FDA) hydrolysis. The results of this measurement did not show correlation with heavy metal content or with land use types. Toxic effects of water and soil samples were determined on Daphnia magna Straus (Cladocera, Crustacea) according to the ISO 6341:1996 standard. The vast majority of the samples exerted no observable toxicity on this bioindicator organism. Overall toxicity often occurred not asthe sum of the reported toxicity of the individual contaminants found: cases of antagonistic and synergistic effects in toxicity were both observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-60
Number of pages14
JournalCarpathian Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Aquatic toxicity
  • Ground water
  • Microelements
  • Monitoring
  • Pesticides
  • Soil
  • Soil microbial life
  • Surface water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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    Székács, A., Mörtl, M., Fekete, G., Fejes, Á., Darvas, B., Dombos, M., Szécsy, O., & Anton, A. (2014). Monitoring and biological evaluation of surface water and soil micropollutants in Hungary. Carpathian Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences, 9(3), 47-60.