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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Cadmium Accumulations and Bioavailability in Soils From Long-Term Phosphorus Fertilization1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 9 No. 3, p. 408-412
    Received: May 9, 1979

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  1. D. J. Mulla,
  2. A. L. Page and
  3. T. J. Ganje2



Soils from citrus groves that had been fertilized with the equivalent of approximately 175 kg P/ha per year [as treble superphosphate (TSP)] over a 36-year period were sampled and analyzed for total P, Cd, and Zn as well as water-soluble P and Cd. A P fertilization rate of 175 kg/ha (about 400 kg P2O5/ha) is much higher than normal field rates, which are typically about 30 kg/ha. Concentrations of total Cd in surface soil were highly correlated (r = 0.89) with concentrations of total P. The concentrations of Cd in surface soil receiving broadcast P for 36 years averaged 1.0 µg/g, and were considerably greater than those of the controls, which showed a mean concentration of 0.07 µg/g. Phosphorus in soil saturation paste extracts ranged from 0.10 µg/ml (controls) to 8.87 µg/ml in P fertilized soils. Water-soluble saturation extract Cd ranged from 0.008 µg/ml in controls to 0.017 µg/ml in fertilized soils, and was not well correlated with watersoluble P.

Cadmium levels in barley (Hordeum vulgare var. U.C. 566) grain and leaves grown in the field on soil subject to long-term heavy P fertilization were not elevated above levels in barley grown on the control soil. Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris var. cicla) was grown in the greenhouse on the above surface soils collected from the field. Although Cd levels averaging 1.6 µg/g in plant tissue were significantly elevated over those on the control soil (0.26 µg/gm), no yield depression was observed.

Long-term heavy application of TSP caused measurable increases in total Cd of surface soil, but the accumulated Cd burden per year was much lower than levels reported from application of sewage sludge. Cadmium accumulating in soils as a result of P fertilization seemed to be less available to Swiss chard than Cd accumulations resulting from applications of sewage sludge reported in the literature.

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