Effect of EDTA on the fractionation and uptake by Taraxacum officinale of potentially toxic elements in soil from former chemical manufacturing sites

Katherine F. Mossop, C.M. Davidson, A.M. Ure, Charles A. Shand, Stephen J. Hillier

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The revised Community Bureau of Reference (BCR) sequential extraction procedure has been applied to investigate the effectiveness of two soil remediation strategies to reduce the amounts of potentially toxic elements in three contrasting contaminated soils (soils A, B and C) from derelict chemical manufacturing sites in the UK. Soil A was from the 35-45 cm deep layer of a site used for the manufacture of sulfuric acid. Soils B and C were topsoils from a site used for the manufacture of explosives, nitric acid and nylon The remediation strategies were flushing with EDTA in a column experiment (applied to soils A, B and C) and EDTA enhanced phytoremediation with Taraxacum officinale in pots (applied to soil B). Soil B, which contained the least amounts of aqua regia extractable metals, except for lead, but higher proportions of analytes in non-residual (i.e. acid exchangeable, reducible and oxidisable) forms was found to release greater amounts of analytes when flushed with EDTA. Comparison of the BCR sequential extraction fractionation patterns obtained before and after flushing of soil B, suggested that EDTA removed calcium mainly from the acid exchangeable pool, manganese mainly from the reducible pool, zinc from both acid exchangeable and reducible pools, and copper and lead from acid exchangeable, reducible and oxidisable pools. The chelate enhanced phytoremediation pot experiment conducted using soil B showed that EDTA treatment was significantly positively, correlated (p < 0.05) with an increase in the proportion of analytes recovered from the soil in step 1 of the BCR extraction scheme, for all analytes, and also enhanced metal uptake by plants. The sum of the amounts of analyte released in the first three steps of the sequential extraction, commonly regarded as the maximum amount of elements potentially available for plant uptake, was not positively correlated with plant-uptake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-129
Number of pages12
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • potentially toxic elements
  • sequential extraction
  • column leaching
  • phytoremediation
  • dandelion

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