Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 18, pp 17499–17508 | Cite as

The effect of simulated acid rain on the stabilization of cadmium in contaminated agricultural soils treated with stabilizing agents

  • Hao Zhu
  • Chunfa Wu
  • Jun Wang
  • Xumei Zhang
Research Article


Stabilization technology is one of widely used remediation technologies for cadmium (Cd)-contaminated agricultural soils, but stabilized Cd in soil may be activated again when external conditions such as acid rain occurred. Therefore, it is necessary to study the effect of acid rain on the performance of different stabilizing agents on Cd-polluted agriculture soils. In this study, Cd-contaminated soils were treated with mono-calcium phosphate (MCP), mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP), and artificial zeolite (AZ) respectively and incubated 3 months. These treatments were followed by two types of simulated acid rain (sulfuric acid rain and mixed acid rain) with three levels of acidity (pH = 3.0, 4.0, and 5.6). The chemical forms of Cd in the soils were determined by Tessier’s sequential extraction procedure, and the leaching toxicities of Cd in the soils were assessed by toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP). The results show that the three stabilizing agents could decrease the mobility of Cd in soil to some degree with or without simulated acid rain (SAR) treatment. The stabilization performances followed the order of AZ < MAP < MCP. Acid rain soaking promoted the activation of Cd in stabilized soil, and both anion composition and pH of acid rain were two important factors that influenced the stabilization effect of Cd.


Stabilization Acid rain pH Anion composition Chemical form Leachability 





Nitrogen oxides


Simulated acid rain


Simulated sulfuric acid rain


Simulated mixed acid rain


Soil organic matter


Calcium carbonate equivalent


Cation exchange capacity


Mono-calcium phosphate


Mono-ammonium phosphate


Artificial zeolite




Toxicity characteristic leaching procedure


United States Environmental Protection Agency


Least significant difference


Exchangeable Cd


Cd bound to carbonates

CdFeOx + MnOy

Cd bound to iron and manganese oxides


Cd bound to organic matter


Residual Cd



This research was funded, in part, by a project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 41001315) and the Fundamental Research Funds for Chongqing City (Grant no. 2014cstc-jbky-01602, 2015cstc-jcyj-01601). The authors are very grateful to Professor Budiman Minasny of the University of Sydney for their comments to this manuscript. We also extend great appreciation to three anonymous reviewers and the editor of Environmental Science and Pollution Research for their helpful comments.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We are the authors of the manuscript entitled “The effect of simulated acid rain on the stabilization of cadmium in contaminated agricultural soils treated with stabilizing agents”, and declared no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Resources and EnvironmentNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina
  2. 2.Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Agricultural MeteorologyNanjing University of Information Science & TechnologyNanjingChina
  3. 3.Chongqing Research Academy of Environmental SciencesChongqingChina
  4. 4.Taicang Soil and Fertilizer StationTaicangChina

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