Assessment of heavy metal concentrations in soils of Western Balkan Mountains

Ludmila Malinova, Kameliya Petrova and Pavel Pavlov
University of Forestry, 1797 Sofia, Bulgaria

Abstract

Malinova, L., Petrova, K. & Pavlov, P. (2022). Assessment of heavy metal concentrations in soils of Western Balkan Mountains. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 28 (1), 129–136

Concentrations of Fe, Mn, Zn, Pb, Cu and Cd were assessed in some soils of Western Balkan Mountains. In most of the soil profiles the predominant pHH2O was within the range of 4.8 to 5.8. To establish the ongoing accumulation or migration processes of heavy metals in soil profiles they were divided into two groups – with pHH2O lower than 4.8 and above 4.8 in the A horizon. Accumulation coefficients (AC) were used to assess these two processes in the studied profiles. It was found clear relationships between copper, pHH2O and the amount of humus in the surface horizon. The accumulation of copper and the amount of humus in A horizon has higher correlation coefficient (r = 0.76) compared to that for copper and pH (r=0.61). The obtained data for zinc AC varied from 0.52 to 1.84. For the iron it was established that all ACs were lower than 1.0 and varied in the range of 0.46 – 0.96. Cadmium in the studied soils was the only metal whose concentrations were higher than the background and precautionary concentration for cadmium concentrations in Bulgarian soils.

Keywords: heavy metal concentrations; soil heavy metal contamination; accumulation coefficients; soil acidity

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