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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2017, Vol. 16 Issue (08): 1832-1840    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(16)61586-1
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Toxicity threshold of lead (Pb) to nitrifying microorganisms in soils determined by substrate-induced nitrification assay and prediction model
ZHENG Han1, CHEN Li2, LI Ning1, LIU Bin1, MENG Nan1, WANG Meng1, CHEN Shi-bao1
1 Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and Fertilizer, Ministry of Agriculture/Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, P.R.China
2 Institute of Plant Protection and Environmental Protection, Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Science, Beijing 100097, P.R.China
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Abstract      Lead (Pb) contamination has often been recorded in Chinese field soils. In recent years, efforts have been made to investigate Pb toxicity thresholds in soils with plant growth and microbial assays. However, the influence of soil properties on Pb toxicity impacts on soil microbial processes is poorly understood. In this study ten soils with different properties were collected in China to investigate the relationships between thresholds of Pb toxicity to soil microbes and soil properties. The effect of soil leaching on Pb toxicity was also investigated to determine the possible influence of added anions on Pb toxicity during dose-response tests. Toxicity was inferred by measuring substrate-induced nitrification in leached and non-leached soils after Pb addition. We found that soil microbe Pb toxicity thresholds (ECx, x=10, 50) differed significantly between the soils; the 10% inhibition ratio values (EC10) ranged from 86 to 218 mg kg–1 in non-leached soils and from 101 to 313 mg kg–1 in leached soils. The 50% inhibition ratio values (EC50) ranged from 403 to 969 mg kg–1 in non-leached soils and from 494 to 1 603 mg kg–1 in leached soils. Soil leaching increased EC10 and EC50 values by an average leaching factor (LF) of 1.46 and 1.33, respectively. Stepwise multiple regression models predicting Pb toxicity to soil microbes were developed based on ECx and soil properties. Based on these models, soil pH and organic carbon are the most important soil properties affecting Pb toxicity thresholds (R2>0.60). The quantitative relationship between Pb toxicity and soil properties will be helpful for developing soil-specific guidance on Pb toxicity thresholds in Chinese field soils.
Keywords:  dose-response        lead (Pb)        polluted soil        substrate-induced nitrification  
Received: 14 September 2016   Accepted:

This research was financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YDF0800707), the National Key Technology R&D Program of China (2015BAD05B03) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41271490).

Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence CHEN Shi-bao, E-mail:    

Cite this article: 

ZHENG Han, CHEN Li, LI Ning, LIU Bin, MENG Nan, WANG Meng, CHEN Shi-bao . 2017. Toxicity threshold of lead (Pb) to nitrifying microorganisms in soils determined by substrate-induced nitrification assay and prediction model. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 16(08): 1832-1840.

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