Effect of remediation technologies on soil fertility in heavy metal(loid)-contaminated soils: A critical review

Lizhi He, Yan Xu, Mengen Zhang, Saima Gul, Xiaokai Zhang, Huan Zhong, Yanxin Tang, Dubin Dong, Yong Xu, Dan Liu, Nanthi Bolan, Hailong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Contamination of heavy metal(loid) in soils is a global problem. Various remediation technologies have thus been applied to mitigate the ecological and health risk of heavy metal(loid)s in contaminated soils. Majority of review studies mainly focus on the mobility or accumulation of heavy metal(loid)s, but little attention has been paid to the alteration of soil fertility (e.g. soil nutrient, structure and enzyme activities) which are most closely related to plant growth during the remediation process. Here, we summarized influence of physical, chemical and biological remediation technologies of contaminated soils on soil fertility, and they indicated that: (1) thermal treatment and soil washing usually decreased soil nutrients and enzyme activities, as well as deteriorated soil structure; (2) biological technologies usually improved soil structure or microorganism activities, but the decrease of soil fertility through nutrient uptake by plants cannot be ignored; (3) the soil amendments displayed various influence on soil fertility, which depended on their properties; (4) combination of multiple technologies could neutralize the negative influence of single technology on soil fertility. In the future, technologies which could both decrease heavy metal(loid) toxicity and improve soil fertility are more recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2024


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