Environmental biogeochemical behaviors of rare earth elements in soil-plant systems


With the continual increase in the utilization of rare earth elements (REEs) for industrial and agricultural purposes in China, the research into the environmental biogeochemical behavior of REEs has become a pressing issue. The REEs' content in soil and various parts of wheat under different conditions in soil-plant systems were measured by INAA and ICP-MS. The results showed four aspects. (1) The mean value of total REEs in soil of China was 176.8 mg kg-1. The mean ratio of ΣLREE/ΣHREE in soils was 8.0 and cerium accounts for 42% of the total REEs. The content of REEs in wheat seed ranged between 10-11 and 10-8 g g-1, 3-4 orders of magnitude lower than that in soil. (2) The REEs contents in ryegrass, especially in roots, were significantly related to that of soil. The bioavailability of REEs in soil mainly depended on the exchangeable fraction of REEs, which was strongly affected by the physico-chemical properties of the soil. (3) Long-term foliage-dressing with Changle microfertilizer of REEs did not affect the contents and distribution patterns of REEs in soil. At the maturing stage of spring wheat, the REEs content was in the order of root > leaf >stem and crust. Compared with the control, foliage-dressing has a higher accumulation of REEs in root and leaf. However, no significant difference was found in stem and crust between the two treatments. (4) There was no significant accumulation with the soil-dressing method. When comparing controls in both foliage- and soil-dressing methods, no distinct residue of REEs in grains was found. © Springer 2005.

Publication Title

Environmental Geochemistry and Health