Soil Science Society of America

Speciation and isotopic exchangeability of Nickel in soil solution

Received for publication July 17, 2006. Knowledge of trace metal speciation in soil pore waters is important in addressing metal bioavailability and risk assessment of contaminated soils. In this study, free Ni2+ activities were determined in pore waters of long-term Ni-contaminated soils using a Donnan dialysis membrane technique. The pore water free Ni2+ concentration as a percentage of total soluble Ni ranged from 21 to 80% (average 53%), and the average amount of Ni bound to dissolved organic matter estimated by Windermere Humic Aqueous Model VI was ≤17%. These data indicate that complexed forms of Ni can constitute a significant fraction of total Ni in solution. Windermere Humic Aqueous Model VI provided reasonable estimates of free Ni2+ fractions in comparison to the measured fractions (R2 = 0.83 with a slope of 1.0). Also, the isotopically exchangeable pools (E value) of soil Ni were measured by an isotope dilution technique using water extraction, with and without resin purification, and 0.1 mol L–1 CaCl2 extraction, and the isotopic exchangeability of Ni species in soil water extracts was investigated. The concentrations of isotopically non-exchangeable Ni in water extracts were <9% of total water soluble Ni concentrations for all soils. The resin E values expressed as a percentage of the total Ni concentrations in soil showed that the labile Ni pool ranged from 0.9 to 32.4% (average 12.4%) of total soil Ni. Therefore the labile Ni pool in these well-equilibrated contaminated soils appears to be relatively small in relation to total Ni concentrations.

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