Utilizing Microbial Community Structure and Function to Evaluate the Health of Heavy Metal Polluted Soils

  • M. Belén HinojosaEmail author
  • Roberto García-Ruiz
  • José A. Carreira
Part of the Soil Biology book series (SOILBIOL, volume 19)


The aim of this chapter is to combine perspectives developed in soil ecology, microbiology and biochemistry into a common framework for evaluating the health of soils polluted with heavy metals.

The use of microbial properties as indicators of soil health has been promoted by the recent development of effective methods for studying the diversity and functioning of microorganisms. Some of the strengths and weaknesses of these methodological approaches are discussed here. In addition, examples of their application to evaluate the health of heavy metal polluted soils are used to summarize the main results obtained so far on microbial function and community structure.

The study of soil resilience, which has recently been proposed as a promising indicator of soil health, can also guide us in the successful remediation of heavy metal polluted soils. This and other future challenges are discussed in this chapter.


Heavy Metal Microbial Community Microbial Biomass Sewage Sludge Soil Respiration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Belén Hinojosa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Roberto García-Ruiz
    • 2
  • José A. Carreira
    • 2
  1. 1.Microbiología del suelo y Sistemas simbióticosEstación Experimental del ZaidínGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Biología Animal, Biología Vegetal y EcologíaUniversidad de JaénJaénSpain

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