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Measurement and dynamic modelling of trace metal mobilisation in soils using DGT and DIFS.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/02/2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Environmental Science and Technology
Number of pages6
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The technique of diffusive gradients in thin-films (DGT) accumulates metals on a Chelex resin after their diffusive transport through a hydrogel. It lowers metal concentrations in soil solution adjacent to the device and induces resupply of metal associated with the solid phase. DGT devices were deployed in an alluvial gley soil for 21 different time periods between 4 h and 19.5 d. The accumulated masses of Cu, Cd, Ni, and Zn were used to calculate the distribution coefficient for labile metal, Kdl, and adsorption and desorption rate constants. Calculations were performed using a dynamic numerical model of DGT-induced fluxes in soils (DIFS). It assumes first-order exchange between solid phase and solution and diffusional transport in both the soil solution and the hydrogel. The DIFS model fitted changes in accumulated mass with time very well. Values of Kdl calculated from DIFS of 100 (Cd), 250 (Cu), 150 (Ni), and 150 (Zn) were larger than values of distribution coefficients estimated by exchange with Ca(NO3)2 but similar to those estimated by isotopic exchange (Cd and Zn only). These results suggest that the solid-phase pool of metal affected by the removal of labile metal by DGT, which operates on a time scale of minutes, is similar to the solid-phase pool of metal that can isotopically exchange with solution on a time scale of 2 d. Response times of minutes were consistent with interaction rates with surfaces, and desorption rate constants agreed with other reported values. An appraisal of the DIFS model demonstrated the importance of the labile pool size in the solid phase for controlling supply to a sink, such as DGT or a plant. As values of Kdl and kinetic parameters are obtained using DGT with minimal soil disturbance and by a similar mechanism to that involved in plant uptake, they may be pertinent to bioavailability studies.