Occurrence and cycling of trace elements in ultramafic soils and their impacts on human health: A critical review

Article


Vithanage, Meththika, Kumarathilaka, Prasanna, Oze, Christopher, Karunatilake, Suniti, Seneviratne, Mihiri, Hseu, Zeng-Yei, Gunarathne, Viraj, Dassanayake, Maheshi, Ok, Yong Sik and Rinklebe, Jörg. 2019. "Occurrence and cycling of trace elements in ultramafic soils and their impacts on human health: A critical review." Environment International. 131 (104974), pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.104974
Article Title

Occurrence and cycling of trace elements in ultramafic soils and their impacts on human health: A critical review

ERA Journal ID5817
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsVithanage, Meththika (Author), Kumarathilaka, Prasanna (Author), Oze, Christopher (Author), Karunatilake, Suniti (Author), Seneviratne, Mihiri (Author), Hseu, Zeng-Yei (Author), Gunarathne, Viraj (Author), Dassanayake, Maheshi (Author), Ok, Yong Sik (Author) and Rinklebe, Jörg (Author)
Journal TitleEnvironment International
Journal Citation131 (104974), pp. 1-17
Number of Pages17
Year2019
PublisherElsevier
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0160-4120
1873-6750
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.104974
Web Address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412018318853
Abstract

The transformation of trace metals (TMs) in natural environmental systems has created significant concerns in recent decades. Ultramafic environments lead to potential risks to the agricultural products and, subsequently, to human health. This unique review presents geochemistry of ultramafic soils, TM fractionation (i.e. sequential and single extraction techniques), TM uptake and accumulation mechanisms of ultramafic flora, and ultramafic associated health risks to human and agricultural crops. Ultramafic soils contain high levels of TMs (i.e. Cr, Ni, Mn, and Co) and have a low Ca:Mg ratio together with deficiencies in essential macronutrients required for the growth of crops. Even though a higher portion of TMs bind with the residual fraction of ultramafic soils, environmental changes (i.e. natural or anthropogenic) may increase the levels of TMs in the bioavailable or extractable fractions of ultramafic soils. Extremophile plants that have evolved to thrive in ultramafic soils present clear examples of evolutionary adaptations to TM resistance. The release of TMs into water sources and accumulation in food crops in and around ultramafic localities increases health risks for humans. Therefore, more focused investigations need to be implemented to understand the mechanisms related to the mobility and bioavailability of TMs in different ultramafic environments. Research gaps and directions for future studies are also discussed in this review. Lastly, we consider the importance of characterizing terrestrial ultramafic soil and its effect on crop plants in the context of multi-decadal plans by NASA and other space agencies to establish human colonies on Mars.

KeywordsSoil contamination; Geochemistry; Trace elements; Bioaccumulation; Translocation; Extremophytes
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020300203. Agricultural land planning
410604. Soil chemistry and soil carbon sequestration (excl. carbon sequestration science)
370903. Natural hazards
370301. Exploration geochemistry
410404. Environmental management
370503. Igneous and metamorphic petrology
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Occidental College, United States
Louisiana State University, United States
National Taiwan University, Taiwan
University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
University of Wuppertal, Germany
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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