Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 165, Issue 1–4, pp 193–203 | Cite as

Microbial activities and trace element contents in an urban soil

  • S. Papa
  • G. Bartoli
  • A. Pellegrino
  • A. Fioretto


Soil biological properties are influenced by trace metals. The main sources of these pollutants in the urban areas are industrial plants, power stations, domestic heating systems and motor vehicles. The aim of this work was to evaluate, in relation to distance from urban roads, soil trace metal concentrations (Pb, Cu, Cr, Cd and V) and their influence on C-microbial biomass as well as on soil respiration and enzyme activities (phosphatase glucosidase, galactosidase, xylanase, cellulase, trealase, protease and invertase). The samplings were carried out at four sites, along a route that goes from Giannone Street to Passionisti Street, two heavily travelled roads at two different times of the year (spring and autumn). Heavy metal contents and microbial activities were highest at the sites near the roads. The highest values of microbial activities were found in the inner site; here, on the contrary, the lowest concentrations of heavy metals were measured. Significant and negative correlations were found between microbial activity and heavy metal contents.


Urban soil Trace element Microbial respiration Microbial biomass Enzyme activity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Papa
    • 1
  • G. Bartoli
    • 1
  • A. Pellegrino
    • 1
  • A. Fioretto
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze della VitaSeconda Università di NapoliCasertaItaly

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