Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 19, pp 19282–19293 | Cite as

Metals in soils from a typical rapidly developing county, Southern China: levels, distribution, and source apportionment

  • Li-Mei Cai
  • Hui-Hao JiangEmail author
  • Jie Luo
Research Article


A total of 321 surface soil samples were collected from Huilai County, Guangdong Province, Southern China. Concentrations of 12 metals (Cr, Hg, As, Pb, Ni, Cd, Cu, Zn, Sb, Sn, Ti, and V) were measured. The mean concentrations of As, Pb, Cd, Zn, Sn, and Ti were higher than their corresponding soil background values, especially for As, Cd, and Sn, which were 1.36, 2.50, and 2.77 times of the background values, respectively. And the results of enrichment factor and pollution load index suggested that soil metals in the study area were moderately contaminated, but pollution of As, Cd, and Sn was relatively serious. According to one-way analysis of variance, there were significant differences in concentrations of Hg, As, Pb, Cd, Zn, and Sn between different land use types, indicating that they were associated with the anthropogenic inputs. The potential sources of metals were quantitatively apportioned by positive matrix factorization, and combined with correlation analysis and geostatistical. The results showed that Cr, Ni, Ti, and V mainly originated from natural sources. Lead, Zn, and partially, Cd mainly came from traffic emissions. Arsenic, Cu, and partially, Sb were ascribed to agricultural practices. Mercury, Sn, partially, Cd, and Sb were derived from industrial activities. Their corresponding contributions were 36.88%, 22.14%, 20.87%, and 20.11%, respectively.


Metals Soil Huilai Source Positive matrix factorization 


Funding information

This work was sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project No. 41201043), Science & Technology Project of Education Department, Hubei Province, China (No. D20161301), and Open Fund of Key Laboratory of Exploration Technologies for Oil and Gas Resources (Yangtze University), Ministry of Education of China (No. K2018-19).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5329_MOESM1_ESM.doc (32 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 32 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Exploration Technologies for Oil and Gas Resources (Yangtze University)Ministry of EducationWuhanChina

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