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Land Resources Surveys


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 42(7)

Modelling the effects of soil properties on the concentration of Cd extracted by 10 mm CaCl2 from soils of the Sydney Basin

P. J. Milham A B J, K. B. P. N. Jinadasa B, D. Collins C, P. J. Nicholls C, C. A. Hawkins B, R. G. Wenzel D, C. J. Kaldor E, A. A. Senn F, C. S. Humphris G, J. Fabien H, M. K. Conyers I, K. Y. Chan I, P. Holford B, J. P. Conroy B

A NSW Agriculture, Agricultural Institute, Orange, NSW 2800, Australia.
B Centre for Horticulture and Plant Sciences, University of Western Sydney, LB 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 1797, Australia.
C NSW Agriculture, Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, PMB 8 Camden, NSW 2570, Australia.
D Pacific Laboratory Medicine Services, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia.
E 77 Eddy Rd, Chatswood, NSW 2067, Australia.
F NSW Agriculture, LB11 Windsor, NSW 2756, Australia.
G 10 Thornbill Way, West Pennant Hills, NSW 2125, Australia.
H 25/8 Watergum Way, Greenacre, NSW 2190, Australia.
I NSW Agriculture, Agricultural Institute, LB Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650, Australia.
J Corresponding author. Email: paul.milham@agric.nsw.gov.au
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Undisturbed surface soils on the peri-urban fringe of the Sydney Basin are mostly acidic, with low concentrations of total cadmium (Cdt) and a wide range of other properties. In taxonomically similar soils on vegetable farms, Cdt is typically about 20-fold greater and undesirably large concentrations of Cd occur in some of the vegetables. We used a sequence of multiple regression models to evaluate how soil properties, taxonomy, and farming affected the behaviour of Cd in surface composites (0–15 cm) from 29 farmed and 12 unfarmed sites in the Basin. The dependent variable was the log10 transformation of the concentration of Cd extracted in 1 h by 10 mm CaCl2 solution (log10 CdCa). The range of values of CdCa was 0.2–60 μg/L. The independent variables in the base model were pHCa and log10 Cdt (R2 = 0.885, r.s.d. = 0.245). The final model contained 2 additional log10-transformed soil properties: effective cation exchange capacity (ECEC) and oxalate-extractable Fe (Feox) (R2 = 0.974, r.s.d. = 0.121). The effect of log10 Feox was significant (P < 0.05), but only when pHCa was > 5.6, the approximate sorption edge for Cd on goethite. The effects of other soil properties could not be adequately tested because the residual variation was too small. The measured values of CdCa had a median error of ±17% and a maximum error of ±58% relative to the back-transformed fitted values from the final model. The coefficient of log10 Cdt in the final model was 1.33 ± 0.05 for the farmed soils and 1.01 ± 0.04 for the unfarmed soils, i.e. log10 CdCa was more sensitive to changes in log10 Cdt in the farmed than the unfarmed soils (P < 0.01). This difference is consistent with the effects of the greater load and briefer duration of contact for Cd in the farmed soils. The coefficients of pHCa and of log10 ECEC in our final model had values of 0.49 (± 0.03) and 0.69 (± 0.08). These values are remarkably similar to those obtained when we fitted our data, using a model that had been used to describe the effects of soil properties on a compilation of Cd-sorption data, and to those in a partitioning model based on the desorption of Cd from contaminated soils. That is, the behaviour of Cd may be influenced by the duration of contact between Cd and the soil, and perhaps the load; however, neither factor appears to change the effects of pHCa and log10 ECEC.

Keywords: total Cd, labile Cd, pH, ECEC, organic matter, hydrous metal oxides, sorption edges, soil taxa, land-use.

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