Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Science and Health
Publication Type: Literature Review
Publication Acceptance Date: September 3, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The movement of both essential and non-essential trace elements through agricultural ecosystem and food chains is a complex problem. Such elements as As, B, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Se, U, V, and Zn are generally present naturally in soils in low concentrations but may be elevated because of human activities, such as fossil fuel combustion, mining, smelting, sludge amendment to soil, fertilizer application, and acricultural practices. Although a significant effort has been expended over the past 40 years to evaluate and quantify the transfer of trace elements from soils to plants, more attention needs to be given to mechanisms within the soil and plant systems, which influence their solubility, chemical speciation, mobility, and uptake by and transport in plants. Although soils do not possess unlimited capability in attenuating inorganic contaminants, soils and even certain plant species do have capacities for retaining large amounts of some trace metals. The prediction of movement of trace elements in the agricultural ecosystem must be partially based on understanding the soil processes governing chemical form and the uptake and behavior of trace elements with plants.