Gypsum soil amendment in metal-polluted soils—an added environmental hazard

Tatiana A. Dubrovina, Artem A. Losev, Mikhail M. Karpukhin, Evgenii L. Vorobeichik, Elvira A. Dovletyarova, Vasyl A. Brykov, Ramilla A. Brykova, Rosanna Ginocchio, CAROLINA ELVIRA YAÑEZ PRIETO, ALEXANDER NEAMAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Scientists around the world have long been searching for effective strategies to reduce the bioavailability of metals in contaminated soils. In case of metal-spiked soils, some studies have proposed gypsum as a soil amendment to alleviate metal phytotoxicity. However, for real field-collected soils, evidence on the efficacy of gypsum as a metal phytotoxicity amendment is limited. Therefore, the present study was designed to examine the effect of gypsum on plant growth in soils polluted by a copper smelter. We grew perennial ryegrass on untreated and gypsum-treated soils (at a dose of 3% by weight) under laboratory conditions. We found that gypsum had no effect on alleviating metal phytotoxicity in our soils. We also demonstrated – for the first time – that gypsum increased the concentrations of soluble metals in the soil, enhancing metal uptake by plants. The calcium ions from gypsum displace metals in the soil exchangeable complex; however, the metals do not get immobilized in soils because gypsum is a neutral salt. While our results contrast with the Terrestrial Biotic Ligand Model, that Model has never been tested on real industrially polluted soils but only on metal-spiked soils. Our main conclusion is that gypsum is ineffective in alleviating metal phytotoxicity in real industrially polluted soils and, moreover, its use is inappropriate as a soil remediation method, because it increases the environmental hazard rather than reducing it. Our study is the very first attempt to recognize that gypsum is a hazardous material when used to ameliorate soils polluted by metals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number130889
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium sulfate
  • Environmental hazard
  • Phytotoxicity
  • Soil remediation
  • Toxicity


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