Authors:Péter Sipos, Tibor Németh, Chung Choi, Zoltán Szalai and Réka Balázs
Knowledge of the distribution and sorption characteristics of trace metals in soils is essential because of their importance both from agricultural and environmental point of view. In this paper, an overview will be provided on the relationship between the behavior and sorption properties of Cu and Pb as well as major soil characteristics, based on the results obtained by several independent research projects carried out on this field at the Institute for Geological and Geochemical Research over the last 15 years. These projects were accomplished using methods with different approaches, e.g. studying metal characteristics by total metal content, selective chemical extractions and batch sorption experiments.Our results show that both metals can be found in soils, primarily in the form of phases highly resistant to weathering. However, if they are mobilized, they are easily and strongly immobilized by soils rich in organic matter, with higher affinity for Cu than for Pb. In acid soils, on the other hand, the leaching of Cu is expected to be higher from such horizons when compared to Pb, especially when iron oxides, which immobilize Pb preferentially, are also present in these horizons. In mineral horizons the close association of Pb and iron oxides can be still expected, whereas Cu prefers to be bound both by clay minerals and iron oxides. In alkaline soils, however, precipitation of both metals as carbonates is a general feature. Our results obtained through different approaches presented in this paper were found to be effectively complementary to each other, providing a much deeper insight into soil-metal interaction than when they are used independently.