Dynamics of cadmium and arsenic at the capillary fringe of paddy soils: A microcosm study based on high-resolution porewater analysis

Yuang Guo, Sha Zhang, Williamson Gustave, Hao Liu, Yujia Cai, Yufei Wei, Zheng Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Arsenic (As) and cadmium (Cd) are prevalent in paddy soils, posing potential threats to food safety and public health. The concentrations of soluble ​As and Cd is sensitive to moisture-driven changes in soil pH and Eh, which is barely described at the critical dry-wet interface. Here, tempo-spatial changes of soluble As and Cd were captured by In-situ Porewater Iterative samplers at the capillary fringe that extended from saturated to unsaturated moisture gradient at the millimeter scale (60 ​mm profile in depth) through two episodic dry-wet cycles (55 days in total). The As and Cd concentrations showed less significant fluctuation in second cycle compared to the initial dry-wet cycle. The study also revealed at the capillary fringe profile (20–40 ​mm), the As concentrations increased from 4.6 μg L−1 in unsaturated soils to 13.5 μg L−1 in saturated soils, while Cd decreased from 3.3 to 0.2 μg L−1. This observed correlation was aligned with the vertical changes in soil Eh (+287 to +381 ​mV) and pH (3.42–6.07). This study found a distinct zone characterized by low As and low Cd concentrations, typically situated approximately 10–30 ​mm beneath the capillary fringe. Upon further analysis, it was determined that soil with an Eh of 249 ​mV and a pH of 4.3 potentially serves as an optimal environment for decreasing As and Cd levels in porewater. These findings suggest that it is feasible to reduce As and Cd concentration in the soil by implementing appropriate depth-controlled water management techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100057
JournalSoil and Environmental Health
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Dry-wet cycle
  • Moisture gradient
  • Saturated soils
  • Soil pH and Eh
  • Soil redox potential
  • Soluble concentrations
  • Unsaturated soils
  • Water management

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