Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 483–491 | Cite as

Evaluation of mercury phytoavailability in Oxisols

  • Francielle R. D. Lima
  • Mateus M. Engelhardt
  • Isabela C. F. Vasques
  • Gabriel C. Martins
  • Geraldo S. Cândido
  • Polyana Pereira
  • Rayner H. C. L. Reis
  • Aline O. Silva
  • Luiz Roberto G. Guilherme
  • João José MarquesEmail author
Research Article


Mercury is a metal which is potentially toxic for the environment. Many factors control its retention in the soil, such as cation exchange capacity, pH, clay content, organic matter, and redox potential. It is important to know the phytotoxic effects of soil Hg to prevent environmental contamination and its entry into the food chain. Several analytical methods are used to measure metal phytoavailability in soils, but none has been reported for Hg in Oxisols, the most common soil class in Brazil and a very important soil class throughout the tropics. The aim of this study was to select the chemical extractor that best correlated the Hg levels in plants and the Oxisols. The soils used were classified as Dystrophic Red-Yellow Oxisol (LVAd) and Dystroferric Red Oxisol (LVdf), which were collected in the 0–0.2-m soil layer. The species selected for cultivation were a monocotyledon, oat (Avena sativa L. cv. São Carlos) and a eudicotyledon, common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L. cv. Madrepérola). Each test plot was composed of a 500 cm3 pot filled with soil samples contaminated with HgCl2. Treatments were arranged in a completely randomized design, with four replications. The experiment was conducted for 30 days. Mercury contents were separately extracted with the following extractors: USEPA 3051A, Mehlich-1, Mehlich-3, DTPA, and water. Mercury was determined by hydride generation atomic absorption spectroscopy. The extracted contents were correlated with the contents in the tissues of the plants’ aerial part by the Pearson correlation. Although it is not considered a standard procedure to evaluate metal phytoavailable contents, the method that presented the best correlations between soil Hg and plant Hg was USEPA 3051A (r = 0.75*). As expected, the worst correlation was with water (r = 0.57* for common bean and r = 0,05ns for oat).


Contamination Mercuric chloride Tropical soils Chemical extractor 


Funding information

Authors would like to thank the financial support from the National Council of Technology and Scientific Development (CNPq), Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES), and the Foundation for Research Support of the Minas Gerais State (FAPEMIG).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francielle R. D. Lima
    • 1
  • Mateus M. Engelhardt
    • 1
  • Isabela C. F. Vasques
    • 1
  • Gabriel C. Martins
    • 2
  • Geraldo S. Cândido
    • 1
  • Polyana Pereira
    • 1
  • Rayner H. C. L. Reis
    • 1
  • Aline O. Silva
    • 1
  • Luiz Roberto G. Guilherme
    • 1
  • João José Marques
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Soil Science DepartmentUniversidade Federal de LavrasLavrasBrazil
  2. 2.Vale Institute of TechnologyBelémBrazil

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