Remediation of Agricultural Soils with Long-Term Contamination of Arsenic and Copper in Two Chilean Mediterranean Areas

Pedro Mondaca, Patricio Valenzuela, Nicole Roldán, Waldo Quiroz, Mónika Valdenegro, Juan L. Celis-Diez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Soil amendments may decrease trace element accumulation in vegetables, improving food security and allowing the recovery of contaminated farmlands. Despite some promising results in the laboratory, validation of soil amendments in field conditions are scarce, especially in aerobic soils. Here, we assessed the effect of different potential soil amendments on arsenic (As) accumulation in lettuces. Then, we compared them in terms of food security and the associated investment (efficacy and efficiency, respectively). We also hypothesized that the soil amendments do not lead to side effects, such as yield decrease, phytotoxicity of Cu, or undesired changes in soil properties. Thereby, we assessed lettuces grown on untreated contaminated soils (C+), treated contaminated soils, and untreated uncontaminated soils (C−) in two contrasting soil types (sandy and loamy soils). The treated contaminated soils consisted of multiple soil amendments. Soil amendments were: diammonium phosphate (DP), iron sulfate (IS), ferrous phosphate (FP), calcium peroxide (CP), and organic matter (OM). We found that phosphate amendments (DP and FP) reduced the As in edible tissues of lettuce in both areas, while CP only reduced As accumulation in the sandy soils area. The As intake through lettuces grown on these amended soils was about 30% lower than on the unamended ones. Cu concentrations in lettuces above 25 mg kg−1 grown in contaminated soils without reducing growth were found, a result that differed from non-field studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number221
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Agriculture
  • Food security
  • Immobilization
  • Mining
  • Trace element


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