We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK


97% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Theoretical comparison of how soil processes af...
View graph of relations

« Back

Theoretical comparison of how soil processes affect uptake of metals by diffusive gradients in thinfilms and plants.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2006
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Environmental Quality
Number of pages11
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The theoretical basis for using measurements of metal uptake by the technique of diffusive gradients in thinfilms (DGT) to mimic processes in soils that affect uptake of metals by plants is examined. The uptake of metals by plants and DGT were compared conceptually and quantitatively by using the classic Barber model of plant uptake and the DIFS (DGT-induced fluxes in soils) model of uptake by DGT. For most metals and plants considered, uptake fluxes were similar to those induced by DGT using the most common gel layer thicknesses of 0.2 to 2mm. Consequently DGT perturbs the chemical equilibrium of metals in the soil solution and between soil solution and solid phase, to a similar extent to plants, and therefore induces a similar balance in supply by diffusion and by release from the solid phase. DIFS was used to show that desorption kinetics, which are not considered by the plant uptake model, are likely important for uptake when the capacity of the soil solid phase is large. Model calculations showed that mass flow into a plant root would only contribute appreciably to the total flux of metal under circumstances when the solid phase reservoir of metal was very low. Generally, however, DGT is likely to emulate supply processes from the soil that govern uptake of metal by plants. Exceptions are likely to be found in poorly buffered soils (typically sandy and/or low pH), and at very high concentrations of metals in soil solution, such that the soil solution concentration at the plant root interface is higher than the Michaelis-Menten constant (Km). Abbreviations: DGT, diffusive gradients in thinfilms • DIFS, DGT-induced fluxes in soils • Kd, solid-solution phase partitioning coefficient • Tc, time needed for the partitioning components of Kd to reach 63% of their equilibrium values, assuming the solution concentration is initially zero • Km, Michaelis-Menten constant • Imax, maximum flux of ions into a root • CE, effective concentration