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Journal Title Abbrev.
J. Elem.
ISSN – 1644-2296
DOI: 10.5601

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Effects of heavy metals on the activity of dehydrogenases, phosphatases and urease in naturally and artificially contaminated soils

Wydanie: 3/2015

Otrzymano: Maj 23, 2014

Zaakceptowano: Marzec 02, 2015

Opublikowano online: 1970-01-01


Dłużewski P., Komisarek J., Wiatrowska K.

Kategorie: Biology and microbiology

DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2014.19.2.675


Most of the processes occurring in soil are catalysed by enzymes. As a result of their sensitivity towards heavy metals, enzymes in contaminated soils are usually less active. The purpose of this paper was to assess the influence of bioavailable forms of Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn on the activity of dehydrogenases, urease, acid and alkaline phosphatase, and to compare the results obtained from naturally and artificially contaminated soils. A pot experiment was carried out on two loamy sand soils, naturally and artificially contaminated with Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn. The total content of heavy metals classified these soils as very heavily contaminated with Cu, heavily contaminated with Pb and contaminated with Cd and Zn, all according to the IUNG system (1995). One of the following organic materials: swine manure or triticale straw, was added to the soil batches. The experiment was carried out in three replications, in two pH ranges: slightly acid and acid. Soil samples for analyses were taken after 14, 28, 165 and 450 days of incubation. The results of the experiment showed that the activity of soil enzymes depended on the content of bioavailable heavy metals; the total concentration of trace elements and H+ were less important. However, considerable differences were found in enzyme activity between naturally and artificially contaminated soils. This indicates that results obtained from other research conducted on freshly contaminated soils cannot be easily transferred to field conditions. The analysed enzymes responded differently to the concentration of bioavailable forms of heavy metals. Alkaline phosphatase was the least tolerant to bioavailable forms of heavy metals, unlike urease, which was the most tolerant soil enzyme. A similar pattern of sensitivity toward trace elements, which could be ordered as Zn > Cd > Cu > Pb, was noticed for dehydrogenases, acid and alkaline phosphatases. Urease was found to be more tolerant to Zn.   


Wiatrowska K., Komisarek J., Dłużewski P. 2015. Effects of heavy metals on the activity of dehydrogenases, phosphatases and urease in naturally and artificially contaminated soils. J. Elem., 20(3): 743-756, DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2014.19.2.675

Słowa kluczowe:

enzymatic activity, dehydrogenases, phosphatase, urease, soil contamination, bioavailable forms of trace elements

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