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Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 569–584 | Cite as

Correlation analysis as a tool to investigate the bioaccessibility of nickel, vanadium and zinc in Northern Ireland soils

  • Sherry Palmer
  • Ulrich Ofterdinger
  • Jennifer M. McKinley
  • Siobhan Cox
  • Amy Barsby
Original Paper

Abstract

Correlation analyses were conducted on nickel (Ni), vanadium (V) and zinc (Zn) oral bioaccessible fractions (BAFs) and selected geochemistry parameters to identify specific controls exerted over trace element bioaccessibility. BAFs were determined by previous research using the unified BARGE method. Total trace element concentrations and soil geochemical parameters were analysed as part of the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland Tellus Project. Correlation analysis included Ni, V and Zn BAFs against their total concentrations, pH, estimated soil organic carbon (SOC) and a further eight element oxides. BAF data were divided into three separate generic bedrock classifications of basalt, lithic arenite and mudstone prior to analysis, resulting in an increase in average correlation coefficients between BAFs and geochemical parameters. Sulphur trioxide and SOC, spatially correlated with upland peat soils, exhibited significant positive correlations with all BAFs in gastric and gastro-intestinal digestion phases, with such effects being strongest in the lithic arenite bedrock group. Significant negative relationships with bioaccessible Ni, V and Zn and their associated total concentrations were observed for the basalt group. Major element oxides were associated with reduced oral trace element bioaccessibility, with Al2O3 resulting in the highest number of significant negative correlations followed by Fe2O3. spatial mapping showed that metal oxides were present at reduced levels in peat soils. The findings illustrate how specific geology and soil geochemistry exert controls over trace element bioaccessibility, with soil chemical factors having a stronger influence on BAF results than relative geogenic abundance. In general, higher Ni, V and Zn bioaccessibility is expected in peat soil types.

Keywords

Bioaccessibility Geogenic contamination Geochemistry Trace elements Human health risk assessment 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland for supplying the necessary geochemical and spatial data for this research. UBM testing at BGS Keyworth, Nottingham was funded by the BGS University Funding Initiative (BUFI). The Tellus Project was funded by the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and by the Rural Development Programme through the Northern Ireland Programme for Building Sustainable Prosperity. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest either with the funders of this research or with the sponsors of this special edition.

Supplementary material

10653_2013_9540_MOESM1_ESM.docx (24 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 25 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sherry Palmer
    • 1
  • Ulrich Ofterdinger
    • 1
  • Jennifer M. McKinley
    • 2
  • Siobhan Cox
    • 1
  • Amy Barsby
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Planning, Architecture and Civil EngineeringQueen’s UniversityBelfastUK
  2. 2.School of Geography, Archaeology and PalaeoecologyQueen’s UniversityBelfastUK

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