Bio-organic stabilizing agent shows promising prospect for the stabilization of cadmium in contaminated farmland soil

  • Zhenqian Xiong
  • Junqing Zhang
  • Peng Cai
  • Wenli Chen
  • Qiaoyun HuangEmail author
Research Article


In situ immobilization of cadmium (Cd) has been considered as a cost-effective and non-disruptive remediation technique for Cd-contaminated soils. In this study, several immobilization approaches were compared in a Cd-contaminated agricultural farmland. The soil was treated with different combinations of the immobilizing agents such as biochar (C), rice straw (RS), lime (L), and engineered bacteria P. putida X4/pIME (B). The plant yield and Cd uptake of lettuce as well as soil Cd fractionations were measured. The Cd content in lettuce leaves and roots decreased by 46.8~67.2% and 36.8~60.2%, respectively. Among the five treatments, combined rice straw, lime, and engineered bacteria treatment showed the lowest Cd concentration in lettuce leaves (0.14 mg/kg) and the highest plant yield (21.5 t/ha). The alleviating effects are assigned to the significant transformation of water soluble and exchangeable Cd to humic substance bound, strong organic bound and residual Cd in the soils. This study suggests that this bio-organic stabilizing agent is more cost-effective than some other immobilization agents reported previously, and shows a great application prospect in improving agriculture production of heavy metal-polluted agricultural soils.


In situ immobilization Cd Rice straw Biochar Lime Bacteria P. putida X4/pIME Cost-effective 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program (2017YFA0605001) and Major Technological Innovation Projects of Hubei Province (2018ABA092).


  1. Alvarez AE, García SA (2007) Removal of cadmium from aqueous solutions by palygorskite. J Hazard Mater 147:594–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Al-Wabel MI, Hussain Q, Usman AR, Ahmad M, Abduljabbar A, Sallam AS, Ok YS (2018) Impact of biochar properties on soil conditions and agricultural sustainability: a review. Land Degrad Dev 29:2124–2161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bao SD (2000) Soil and agricultural chemistry analysis. Agriculture Publication, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  4. Basta NT, McGowen SL (2004) Evaluation of chemical immobilization treatments for reducing heavy metal transport in a smelter contaminated soil. Environ Pollut 127:73–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bian RJ, Joseph S, Cui LQ, Pan GX, Li LQ, Liu XY, Zhang AF, Rutlidge H, Wong SW, Chia C, Marjo C, Gong B, Munroe P, Marjo C (2014) A three-year experiment confirms continuous immobilization of cadmium and lead in contaminated paddy field with biochar amendment. J Hazard Mater 272:121–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bolan N, Kunhikrishnan A, Thangarajan R, Kumpiene J, Park J, Makino T, Kirkham MB, Scheckel K (2014) Remediation of heavy metal (loid) s contaminated soils–to mobilize or to immobilize? J Hazard Mater 266:141–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cambier P, Michaud A, Paradelo R, Germain M, Mercier V, Guérin-Lebourg A, Revallier A, Houot S (2019) Trace metal availability in soil horizons amended with various urban waste composts during 17 years - monitoring and modeling. Sci Total Environ 651:2961–2974CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen HS, Huang QY, Liu LN, Cai P, Liang W, Li M (2010) Poultry manure compost alleviates the phytotoxicity of soil cadmium: influence on growth of Pakchoi (Brassica chinensis L.). Pedosphere 20:63–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen D, Guo H, Li RY, Li LQ, Pan GX, Chang A, Joseph S (2016) Low uptake affinity cultivars with biochar to tackle Cd-tainted rice—a field study over four rice seasons in Hunan, China. Sci Total Environ 541:1489–1498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cui YS, Du X, Weng LP, Zhu YG (2008) Effects of rice straw on the speciation of cadmium (Cd) and copper (Cu) in soils. Geoderma 146:370–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fang LC, Cai P, Chen WL, Liang W, Hong ZN, Huang QY (2009) Impact of cell wall structure on the behavior of bacterial cells in the binding of copper and cadmium. Colloid Surf A Physicochem Eng Asp 347:50–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hanauer T, Felix-Henningsen P, Steffens D, Kalandadze B, Navrozashvili L, Urushadze T (2011) In situ stabilization of metals (Cu, Cd, and Zn) in contaminated soils in the region of Bolnisi, Georgia. Plant Soil 341:193–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. He XC, Chen WL, Huang QY (2011) Surface display of monkey metallothionein α tandem repeats and EGFP fusion protein on Pseudomonas putida X4 for biosorption and detection of cadmium. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 95:1605–1613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Huang SS, Liao QL, Hua M, Wu XM, Bi KS, Yan CY, Chen B, Zhang XY (2007) Survey of heavy metal pollution and assessment of agricultural soil in Yangzhong district, Jiangsu Province, China. Chemosphere 67:2148–2155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kabala C, Singh BR (2001) Fractionation and mobility of copper, lead, and zinc in soil profiles in the vicinity of a copper smelter. J Environ Qual 30:485–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lee SH, Kim EY, Park H, Yun J, Kim JG (2011) In situ stabilization of arsenic and metal-contaminated agricultural soil using industrial by-products. Geoderma 161:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Li B, Yang JX, Wei DP, Chen SB, Li JM, Ma YB (2014) Field evidence of cadmium phytoavailability decreased effectively by rape straw and/or red mud with zinc sulphate in a Cd-contaminated calcareous soil. PLoS One 9:109967CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Li M, Mohamed I, Raleve D, Chen WL, Huang QY (2016) Field evaluation of intensive compost application on Cd fractionation and phytoavailability in a mining-contaminated soil. Environ Geochem Health 38:1193–1201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Liu LN, Chen HS, Cai P, Liang W, Huang QY (2009) Immobilization and phytotoxicity of Cd in contaminated soil amended with chicken manure compost. J Hazard Mater 163:563–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. MEP and Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) (2014) MEP and MLR announce the report on national general survey on soil contamination. Accessed 28 Apr 2014
  21. Mohamed I, Ahamadou B, Li M, Gong CX, Cai P, Liang W, Huang QY (2010) Fractionation of copper and cadmium and their binding with soil organic matter in a contaminated soil amended with organic materials. J Soils Sediments 10:973–982CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Narwal RP, Singh BR, Salbu B (1999) Association of cadmium, zinc, copper, and nickel with components in naturally heavy metal rich soils studied by parallel and sequential extractions. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 30:1209–1230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ngo PT, Rumpel C, Ngo QA, Alexis M, Vargas GV, Gil MLM, Dang DK, Jouquet P (2013) Biological and chemical reactivity and phosphorus forms of buffalo manure compost, vermicompost and their mixture with biochar. Bioresour Technol 148:401–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. O'Connor D, Peng TY, Zhang JL, Tsang DCW, Alessi DS, Shen ZT, Bolan NS, Hou DY (2018) Biochar application for the remediation of heavy metal polluted land: a review of in situ field trials. Sci Total Environ 619:815–826CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pérez-Esteban J, Escolástico C, Masaguer A, Moliner A (2012) Effects of sheep and horse manure and pine bark amendments on metal distribution and chemical properties of contaminated mine soils. Eur J Soil Sci 63:733–742CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Porter SK, Scheckel KG, Impellitteri CA, Ryan JA (2004) Toxic metals in the environment: thermodynamic considerations for possible immobilization strategies for Pb, Cd, As, and Hg. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol 34:495–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sablu B, Krekelig T (1998) Characterization of radioactive particles in the environment. Analyst 123:843–849CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Shi HZ, Li Q, Chen WL, Cai P, Huang QY (2018) Distribution and mobility of exogenous copper as influenced by aging and components interactions in three Chinese soils. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25:10771–10781CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sun YB, Sun GH, Xu YM, Wang L, Liang XF, Lin DS (2013) Assessment of sepiolite for immobilization of cadmium-contaminated soils. Geoderma 193:149–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tang XY, Zhu YG, Cui YS, Duan J, Tang L (2006) The effect of ageing on the bioaccessibility and fractionation of cadmium in some typical soils of China. Environ Int 32:682–689CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Tessier A, Campbell PGG, Bisson M (1979) Sequential extraction procedure for the speciation of particulate trace metals. Anal Chem 51:844–851CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Uchimiya M, Hiradate S (2014) Pyrolysis temperature-dependent changes in dissolved phosphorus speciation of plant and manure biochars. J Agric Food Chem 62:1802–1809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Valls M, Atrian S, de Lorenzo V, Fernández LA (2000) Engineering a mouse metallothionein on the cell surface of Ralstonia eutropha CH34 for immobilization of heavy metals in soil. Nat Biotechnol 18:661–665CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wang N, Du HH, Huang QY, Cai P, Rong XM, Feng XH, Chen WL (2016) Surface complexation modeling of Cd (II) sorption to montmorillonite, bacteria, and their composite. Biogeosciences 13:5557–5566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wu G, Kang HB, Zhang XY, Shao HB, Chu LY, Ruan CJ (2010) A critical review on the bio-removal of hazardous heavy metals from contaminated soils: issues, progress, eco-environmental concerns and opportunities. J Hazard Mater 174:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wu YJ, Zhou H, Zou ZJ, Zhu W, Yang WT, Peng PQ, Zeng M, Liao BH (2016) A three-year in-situ study on the persistence of a combined amendment (limestone+ sepiolite) for remedying paddy soil polluted with heavy metals. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 130:163–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Xu XJ, Huang QY, Chen WL (2012) Soil microbial augmentation by an EGFP-tagged Pseudomonas putida X4 to reduce phytoavailable cadmium. Int Biodeterior Biodegrad 71:55–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zhang RH, Li ZG, Liu XD, Wang BC, Zhou GL, Huang XX, Lin CF, Wang AH, Brooks M (2017) Immobilization and bioavailability of heavy metals in greenhouse soils amended with rice straw-derived biochar. Ecol Eng 98:183–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zhao FJ, Ma Y, Zhu YG, Tang Z, McGrath SP (2014) Soil contamination in China: current status and mitigation strategies. Environ Sci Technol 49:750–759CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Agricultural MicrobiologyHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Hubei Key Laboratory of Soil Environment and Pollution RemediationHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina

Personalised recommendations