Soil Research Soil Research Society
Soil, land care and environmental research

Copper behaviour in a Podosol. 2. Sorption reversibility, geochemical partitioning, and column leaching

Edward D. Burton A B , Ian R. Phillips A , Darryl W. Hawker A and Dane T. Lamb A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Griffith University, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Soil Research 43(4) 503-513
Submitted: 9 August 2004  Accepted: 17 December 2004   Published: 30 June 2005


The sorption–desorption and leaching behaviour of Cu in a Podosol from south-east Queensland, Australia, was examined. Copper sorption was described by a linear distribution coefficient at low sorption levels (KDCa→0) of 481 L/kg and a sorption capacity (CS,Max) of 382 mg/kg. Selective removal of soil organic matter reduced these values by approximately 95%, indicating that Cu was sorbed predominantly to soil organic matter. The KDCa→0 and CS,Max values from Cu desorption experiments were 934 L/kg and 516 mg/kg, respectively, which indicates that sorption was not fully reversible. This irreversibility was related to aqueous Cu speciation (modelled with MINTEQA2), showing that aqueous complexes between Cu and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) comprised 28.3–72.8% and 21.3–45.4% of aqueous Cu in the sorption and desorption experiment, respectively. Sorption irreversibility was not evident when the corresponding data was presented as free Cu2+ isotherms. Both sorption and desorption experiments with free Cu2+ <0.2 mg/L were described by a KDCa→0 value of approximately 3000 L/kg. Sequential extraction of sorbed Cu indicated that at low concentrations, sorption occurred primarily via specific interactions, with non-specific sorption becoming increasing important at higher concentrations. Desorption of Cu in a column leaching experiment was attributable to exchange of sorbed Cu2+ with Na+. Leaching with a DOC solution of pH 7 and 135 mg/L greatly enhanced Cu mobility due to the formation of aqueous Cu–DOC complexes.

Additional keywords: trace metals, sequential extraction, mobility, desorption, speciation.


Agbenin JO, Olojo LA (2004) Competitive adsorption of copper and zinc by a Bt horizon of a savanna Alfisol as affected by pH and selective removal of hydrous oxides and organic matter. Geoderma 119, 85–95.
CrossRef |

Allison, JP , Brown, JL ,  and  Novo-Gradac, KJ (1991). ‘MINTEQA2/PRODEFA2, a geochemical assessment model for environment systems: Version 3.11 users manual.’ edn . (Environmental Research Laboratories, United States Environmental Protection Agency: Athens, GA)

Allison JP, Perdue EM (1994) Modelling metal-humic interaction with MINTEQA2. ‘Humic substances in the global environment and implications on human health’. edn(Eds N Senesi, TM Miano) (Elsevier Science: Amsterdam)

Barry GA, Chudek PJ, Best EK, Moody PW (1995) Estimating sludge loadings to land based on heavy metal and phosphorus sorption characteristics of soil. Water Research 29, 2031–2034.
CrossRef |

Bond WJ, Phillips IR (1990) Cation exchange isotherms obtained with batch and miscible-displacement techniques. Soil Science Society of America Journal 54, 722–728.

Bowman RS, Essington ME, O’Connor GA (1981) Soil sorption of nickel: influence of solution composition. Soil Science Society of America Journal 45, 860–865.

Burton ED, Hawker DW, Redding MR (2003) Sludge-derived Cu and Zn in a humic gley soil: Effect of dissolved metal-organic matter complexes on sorption and partitioning. Soil and Sediment Contamination 12, 23–46.

Burton ED, Phillips IR, Hawker DW, Lamb DT (2005) Copper behaviour in a Podosol. 1. pH-dependent sorption–desorption, sorption isotherm analysis, and aqueous speciation modelling. Australian Journal of Soil Research 43, 491–501.

Gray CW, McLaren RG, Roberts AHC, Condron LM (1998) Sorption and desorption of cadmium from some New Zealand soils: effect of pH and contact time. Australian Journal of Soil Research 36, 199–216.
CrossRef |

Gschwend PM, Wu SC (1985) On the constancy of sediment-water partition coefficients of hydrophobic organic pollutants. Environmental Science and Technology 19, 90–95.
CrossRef |

Howard JL, Sledzinski G (1996) Geochemical behaviour of lead in an alfisol and an ultisol at high levels of contamination. Journal of Soil Contamination 5, 61–81.

HydroGeoLogic and Allison Geoscience Consultants (1999). ‘MINTEQA2/PRODEFA2, A geochemical assessment model for environmental systems: User manual supplement for version 4.0.’ edn . (United States Environmental Protection Agency: Athens, GA)

Isbell, RF (1996). ‘The Australian Soil Classification System.’ edn . (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne, Vic.)

Li ZB, Shuman LM (1997) Mobility of Zn, Cd and Pb in soils as affected by poultry litter extract-I. Leaching in soil columns. Environmental Pollution 95, 219–226.
CrossRef | PubMed |

McBride MB (1989) Reactions controlling heavy metal solubility in soils. Advances in Soil Science 10, 1–56.

McBride, MB (1994). ‘Environmental chemistry of soils.’ edn . (Oxford University Press: New York)

McBride MB, Martinez CE, Sauve S (1998) Copper (II) activity in aged suspensions of goethite and organic matter. Soil Science Society of America Journal 62, 1542–1548.

McLaren RG (2003) Micronutrients and toxic elements. ‘Handbook of processes and modelling in the soil–plant system’. edn(Eds DK Benbi, R Nieder) (Haworth Press: New York)

McLaren RG, Crawford DV (1973) Studies on soil copper II. The specific adsorption of copper by soils. Journal of Soil Science 24, 443–452.

McLaren RG, Williams JG, Swift RS (1983a) Some observations on the desorption and distribution behaviour of copper with soil components. Journal of Soil Science 34, 325–331.

McLaren RG, Williams JG, Swift RS (1983b) The adsorption of copper by soil samples from Scotland at low equilibrium solution concentrations. Geoderma 31, 97–106.
CrossRef |

McLaughlin MJ, Hamon RE, McLaren RG, Speir TW, Rogers SL (2000) Review: A bioavailability-based rationale for controlling metal and metalloid contamination of agricultural land in Australia and New Zealand. Australian Journal of Soil Research 38, 1037–1086.
CrossRef |

Nolan AL, Lombi E, McLaughlin MJ (2003) Metal bioaccumulation and toxicity in soils—why bother with speciation? Australian Journal of Chemistry 56, 77–91.
CrossRef |

Phillips IR (1999) Copper, lead, cadmium and zinc sorption by waterlogged and air-dry soil. Journal of Soil Contamination 8, 343–364.

Phillips IR, Burton ED (2005) Nutrient leaching in undisturbed cores of an acidic sandy Podosol following simultaneous potassium chloride and di-ammonium phosphate application. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems (In press) ,

Phillips IR, Chapple L (1995) Assessment of a heavy metals contaminated site using sequential extraction, TCLP, and risk assessment techniques. Journal of Soil Contamination 4, 311–325.

Pietrzak U, McPhail DC (2004) Copper accumulation, distribution and fractionation in vineyard soils of Victoria, Australia. Geoderma 122, 151–166.
CrossRef |

Roy WR, Krapac IG, Chou SFJ, Griffin RA (1991) Batch-type procedures for estimating soil adsorption of chemicals. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Technical Resource Document, EPA/530/SW-87/006-F. , .

Salim IA, Miller CJ, Howard JL (1996) Sorption isotherm-sequential extraction analysis of heavy metal retention in landfill liners. Soil Science Society of America Journal 60, 107–114.

Sauve S, Hendershot W, Allen HE (2000) Solid-solution partitioning of metals in contaminated soils: Dependence on pH, total metal burden, and organic matter. Environmental Science and Technology 34, 1125–1131.
CrossRef |

Sauve S, Manna S, Turmel M, Roy AG, Courchesne F (2003) Solid–solution partitioning of Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in the organic horizons of a forest soil. Environmental Science and Technology 37, 5191–5196.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Schweich D, Sardin M (1981) Adsorption, partition, ion exchange and chemical reaction in batch reactors or in columns—A review. Journal of Hydrology 50, 1–33.
CrossRef |

Soil Survey Staff (1975). ‘Soil Taxonomy.’ Washington Soil Conservation Service, USDA Agriculture Handbook No.436. (USDA: Washington, DC)

Susetyo W, Carreira LA, Azarraga LV, Grimm DM (1991) Fate, distribution and metabolism of inorganic pollutants, speciation. Fluorescence techniques for metal-humic interactions. Fresenius' Journal of Analytical Chemistry 339, 624–635.
CrossRef |

Swift RS (1996) Organic matter characterisation. ‘Methods of soil analysis. Part 3. Chemical methods’. edn(Ed. DL Sparks ) (Soil Science Society of America and American Society of Agronomy: Madison, WI)

Temminghoff EJM, Van der Zee SEATM, Haan FAMD (1997) Copper mobility in a copper-contaminated sandy soil as affected by pH and solid and dissolved organic matter. Environmental Science and Technology 31, 1109–1115.
CrossRef |

Tessier A, Campbell PGC, Bisson M (1979) Sequential extraction procedure for the speciation of particulate trace metals. Analytical Chemistry 51, 844–850.
CrossRef |

Veeresh H, Tripathy S, Chaudhuri D, Hart BR, Powell MA (2003) Sorption and distribution of adsorbed metals in three soils of India. Applied Geochemistry 18, 1723–1731.
CrossRef |

Weng L, Temminghoff EJM, van Riemsdijk WH (2001) Contribution of individual sorbents to the control of heavy metal activity in sandy soil. Environmental Science and Technology 35, 4436–4443.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Wu J, Laird DA, Thompson ML (1999) Sorption and desorption of copper on soil clay components. Journal of Environmental Quality 28, 334–338.

Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation Cited By (3)