Ecotoxicity evaluation of an amended soil contaminated with uranium and radium using sensitive plants


As a result of former uranium mining at Urgeirica (central-northern Portugal), the studied adjacent agriculture soils (Fluvisols) had high total concentration of uranium (similar to 660 mg/kg) and high radium-226 activity (similar to 2310 Bq/kg). The environmental risk of these soils is also related to the high available concentrations (soluble + exchangeable fraction extracted with ammonium acetate) of uranium(total) and radium-226, which represent 100% and 20% of their total concentrations, respectively. The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of different amendments (sheep manure and bone meal) in the toxicity reduction from agricultural soils contaminated with uranium and radium, by bioassays using two sensitive plants (Lactuca sativa L and Zea mays L). Pot experiments (microcosm experiments), under controlled conditions, were undertaken during two months of incubation at 70% of the soil water-holding capacity. Bone meal at 40 Mg/ha, sheep manure at 70 Mg/ha, and two mixtures of bone meal and sheep manure (40 Mg/ha + 70 Mg/ha and 20 Mg/ha + 70 Mg/ha, respectively) were used as amendments. The amendments' application, independently of their type and concentration, reduced drastically the radionuclides concentrations in the soil available fraction and in the soil leachates. Bioassays using the two above plant species, in different matrices (filter test, soil test and hydroponic test), showed that the soil from Urgeirica did not have any ecotoxic effect from the radionuclides. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.



subject category

Geochemistry & Geophysics


Abreu, MM; Lopes, J; Santos, ES; Magalhaes, MCF

our authors


The authors would like to thank to the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) for financial research support of UIQA - Unidade de Investigacao Quimica Ambiental (Program Pest - PEst-OE/AGR/UI0528/2011), CICECO - Centre for Research in Ceramics and Composite Materials (Program Pest - PEst-C/CTM/LA0011/2013), and PhD grant (SFRH/BD/80198/2011). Thanks are also due to Prof. Alcides Pereira - Universidade de Coimbra, EDM, Eng. Miguel Fornelos - Florecha, and Dr. Antonio Campos - Ambicanas, for samples supply and radium and uranium analysis.

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