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Determination of heavy metal contamination in the soil environment using ion exchange membranes

Liang, J. and J.J. Schoenau. 1994. In Soils and Crops Workshop Proc., pp 268-273. Univ. Saskatchewan


An anion exchange resin membrane saturated with chelating agent (AEM-DTPA) was used to assess the bioavailability of four heavy metals, Cd, Cr, Ni and Pb via direct in-soil burial. Two soils with four contamination rates of each metal were tested using three crops: oats, radish and lettuce. The resin membrane was buried in saturated soil with deionized water for 60 min. and extractable metals from the soils were correlated with uptake by plants grown in the soils. The amounts of heavy metals extracted by AEM-DTPA were significantly correlated with plant uptake and with metal extracted by the conventional DTPA method. The critical levels of the four heavy metals varied from crop to crop, and soil to soil. It was demonstrated that AEM-DTPA direct in-soil burial is a suitable method in assessing relative heavy metal bioavailability in polluted soil environments. It is a simple and easy to use procedure which reduces soil handling.

Key Words

Heavy metal, bioavailability, resin membrane, soil test, burial in-situ