Sorption Behavior of Uranium in Soils

As a limiting factor for plant growth, phosphorous (P) is removed permanently from soils and P-fertilization is indispensible for arable soils. Depending on origin and processing method of the raw materials, mineral P-fertilizers can contain Uranium (U) up to 173 mg·kg-1 (Dittrich & Klose 2008). Considering an extensive P-fertilization in conventional agriculture, their applica-tion could lead to an annual input of U into agricultural environments. Regarding the high hu-man- and phyto-toxic potential of U, it is necessary to characterize the fate of U in the pe-dosphere and to identify and quantify further processes like enrichment in soils, plant uptake or leaching into groundwater aquifers. In surface and soil waters the Uranyl-ion (UO22+) is the pre-dominant species of U. Since the high tendency to hydrolysis and complexation with different ligands, the chemistry of U in soils is very complex. Moreover, the physico-chemical properties of soils may vary in a broad range and could cause very different liquid/solid distributions of U, which mainly determines the mobility and plant availability of U.

Mineral phosphorous (P) fertilizers are often accompanied by uranium (U) and their application could cause a significant U contamination of agricultural soils. This may impli-cate an enter of U into the food chain via soil-plant-animal transfer. Since only dissolved com-pounds can be taken up by plants or animals, it is necessary to describe the liquid/solid distribution of U in soils in order to predict the mobility and plant availability of U. First results show a high adsorption tendency of U to the soil matrix. Freundlich adsorption coefficients (log KF) range between 1.3 – 6.7 and demonstrates the different sorption capacity of the investigated soils. Soil pH and content of oxalate soluble manganese was figured out as the most important factors controlling sorption of U.

Copyright: © Lehrstuhl für Abfallverwertungstechnik und Abfallwirtschaft der Montanuniversität Leoben
Source: Depotech 2012 (November 2012)
Pages: 2
Price: € 1,00
Autor: S. Setzer
Prof. Dr. habil. Stefan A. Gäth

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