Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 1271–1280 | Cite as

Influence of low molecular weight anionic ligands on the sorption of heavy metals by soil constituents: a review

  • Jun Zhu
  • Qingling Fu
  • Guohong Qiu
  • Yurong Liu
  • Hongqing HuEmail author
  • Qiaoyun Huang
  • Antonio Violante


The sorption of heavy metals by soil constituents reduces the absorption of these pollutants by crops and vegetables, and thus limit food contamination. Low molecular weight anionic ligands are ubiquitous in soil and they influence the sorption of heavy metals. Here we review the influence of small anionic ligands on the sorption of heavy metals by soil constituents. We discuss the mechanisms of anionic ligand impact on heavy metal sorption by soil constituents; the influence of anionic ligands on heavy metal sorption by composites of soil constituents; and (4) the influence of mixed anionic ligands on heavy metal sorption. The information in this review will facilitate the assessment and control of heavy metal pollution in soils.


Low molecular weight anionic ligands Heavy metals Sorption Soil constituents 



We are grateful to Prof. Youjun Deng (Texas A&M University, USA) for revising the manuscript. This research was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Program Number: 2662017JC009) and National Key Research and Development Plan of China (2017YFD0801002, 2017YFD0801502).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Arable Land Conservation (Middle and Lower Reaches of Yangtze River), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, College of Resources and EnvironmentHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of Naples “Federico II”PorticiItaly

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