Boron contamination and its risk management in terrestrial and aquatic environmental settings

Shiv Bolan, Hasintha Wijesekara, Dhulmy Amarasiri, Tao Zhang, Péter Ragályi, Milka Brdar-Jokanović, Márk Rékási, Jui-Yen Lin, Lokesh P Padhye, Haochen Zhao, Liuwei Wang, Jörg Rinklebe, Hailong Wang, Kadambot H M Siddique, M B Kirkham, Nanthi Bolan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Boron (B) is released to terrestrial and aquatic environments through both natural and anthropogenic sources. This review describes the current knowledge on B contamination in soil and aquatic environments in relation to its geogenic and anthropogenic sources, biogeochemistry, environmental and human health impacts, remediation approaches, and regulatory practices. The common naturally occurring sources of B include borosilicate minerals, volcanic eruptions, geothermal and groundwater streams, and marine water. Boron is extensively used to manufacture fiberglass, thermal-resistant borosilicate glass and porcelain, cleaning detergents, vitreous enamels, weedicides, fertilizers, and B-based steel for nuclear shields. Anthropogenic sources of B released into the environment include wastewater for irrigation, B fertilizer application, and waste from mining and processing industries. Boron is an essential element for plant nutrition and is taken up mainly as boric acid molecules. Although B deficiency in agricultural soils has been observed, B toxicity can inhibit plant growth in soils under arid and semiarid regions. High B intake by humans can be detrimental to the stomach, liver, kidneys and brain, and eventually results in death. Amelioration of soils and water sources enriched with B can be achieved by immobilization, leaching, adsorption, phytoremediation, reverse osmosis, and nanofiltration. The development of cost-effective technologies for B removal from B-rich irrigation water including electrodialysis and electrocoagulation techniques is likely to help control the predominant anthropogenic input of B to the soil. Future research initiatives for the sustainable remediation of B contamination using advanced technologies in soil and water environments are also recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Article number164744
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date12 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2023


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