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Can earthworm-secreted calcium carbonate immobilise Zn in contaminated soils?

DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2014.01.012 DOI Help

Authors: Loredana Brinza (Diamond Light Source) , Paul Schofield (Natural History Museum) , Fred Mosselmans (Diamond Light Source) , Erica Donner (University of South Australia) , Enzo Lombi (University of South Australia) , David Paterson (Australian Synchrotron Clayton) , Mark Hodson (University of York)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Soil Biology And Biochemistry

State: Published (Approved)
Published: January 2014
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 7755 , 7090 , 5731 , 2123

Abstract: We investigated the interaction of soil Zn with calcium carbonate granules secreted by the earthworm Lumbricus terrestris. Earthworms were kept in agricultural soil amended with ZnSO4 to give Zn concentrations up to 750 mg kg?1 and in two former mine site soils containing 500 and 120 mg Zn kg?1. After 21–42 days the earthworms accumulated 260–470 mg Zn kg?1. Granule production was 0.027–2.11 mg CaCO3 earthworm?1 day?1 and was positively correlated with soil and soil solution pH (r = 0.66 and 0.85 respectively, p ? 0.01). Granule Zn concentration was 34–163 mg kg?1. Granules collected from Zn-free control soil and left in Zn-bearing soil for 28 days contained 49–60 mg Zn kg?1 suggesting that the majority of Zn associates with granules after their secretion. However, synchrotron X-ray fluorescence indicates some incorporation of Zn into granules during their formation. X-ray diffraction and X-ray absorption spectroscopy indicate that the granules are predominantly calcite and the spectroscopy suggests that the Zn is either adsorbed to, or incorporated into, the calcite lattice. X-ray diffraction of the outer c. 35 ?m of the granules supports incorporation of Zn into the calcite lattice. The low granule production rates in the mine site soils and the granule Zn concentrations suggest that earthworm secreted calcium carbonate is unlikely to impact significantly on Zn mobility in soils.

Journal Keywords: Zinc Earthworm Calcium Carbonate Granules

Subject Areas: Environment, Materials


Instruments: I18-Microfocus Spectroscopy

Other Facilities: Australian Synchrotron