Metal availability in heavy metal-contaminated open burning and open detonation soil: Assessment using soil enzymes, earthworms, and chemical extractions

Sang Hwan Lee, Eul Young Kim, Seunghun Hyun, Jeong-Gyu Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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The effects of heavy metal contamination on soil enzyme activity and earthworm health (bioaccumulation and condition) were studied in contaminated soils collected from an formerly open burning and open detonation (OBOD) site. Soil extraction methods were also evaluated using CaCl2 and DTPA solutions as surrogate measures of metal bioavailability and ecotoxicity. Total heavy metal content of the soils ranged from 0.45 to 9.68 mg Cd kg-1, 8.96 to 5103 mg Cu kg-1, 40.21 to 328 mg Pb kg-1, and 56.61 to 10,890 mg Zn kg-1. Elevated metal concentrations are assumed to be primarily responsible for the reduction in enzyme activities and earthworm health indices. We found significant negative relationships between CaCl2- and DTPA-extractable metal content (Cd, Cu, and Zn) and soil enzyme activity (P < 0.01). Therefore, it could be concluded that soil enzyme activity and metal bioaccumulation by earthworms can be used as an ecological indicator of metal availability. Furthermore, CaCl2 and DTPA extraction methods are proved as promising, precise, and inexpensive surrogate measures of Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn bioavailability from heavy metal-contaminated soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-388
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Oct 15



  • Bioaccumulation
  • Bioavailability
  • Ecological health
  • Eisenia fetida
  • Heavy metals
  • Soil enzyme

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Engineering

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