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Stable metal isotopes as tools to assess enrichment and sources of trace metals in soils and crops to improve sustainability of agricultural systems

English title Stable metal isotopes as tools to assess enrichment and sources of trace metals in soils and crops to improve sustainability of agricultural systems
Applicant Wilcke Wolfgang
Number 145195
Funding scheme NRP 69 Healthy Nutrition and Sustainable Food Production
Research institution Geographisches Institut Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Pedology
Start/End 01.12.2013 - 31.12.2017
Approved amount 483'471.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Pedology
Geochemistry

Keywords (7)

Food chain; Metal budgets; Sustainable land use; Fertilizer-derived metal inputs; Soil contamination; Trace metals; Stable metal isotope ratios

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Nachhaltigkeit ist die Grundvoraussetzung für eine langfristige, qualitativ hochwertige Nahrungsmittelproduktion. Die Nachhaltigkeit landwirtschaftlicher Produktionssysteme hängt zu einem grossen Teil von ausgewogenen Ein- und Austrägen von Nährstoffen und der Vermeidung der Anreicherung von Schadstoffen wie Spurenmetallen ab. Aktuelle Studien zeigen, dass die Metalleinträge - auch in der Schweiz - zu hoch sind, so dass es zu einer Anreicherung der Metalle im Boden kommt.
Lay summary

Um dem Problem der Metallanreicherung im Boden, die langfristig die Qualität und Quantität der produzierten Lebensmittel beeinträchtigen kann, zu begegnen, müssen alle wichtigen Metallquellen identifiziert werden. Wir verfolgen dazu einen neuen Ansatz, bei dem stabile Metallisotopenverhältnisse genutzt werden, um die Herkunft von Metallen herauszufinden. Wir konzentrieren uns bei der Untersuchung auf drei Spurenmetalle, die eine hohe Anreicherung in der Landwirtschaft zeigen (Cadmium, Kupfer und Zink). Diese Metalle bestehen – wie die meisten Elemente - aus mehreren stabilen (nicht radioaktiven) Isotopen. Das genaue Isotopenverhältnis kann dazu genutzt werden verschiedene Metallquellen zu unterscheiden. Wir kombinieren stabile Metallisotopenverhältnisse mit Massenbilanzen und Modellen, um die Quellen der Metalleinträge zu identifizieren und quantifizieren. Wir werden ausserdem aus stabilen Metallisotopenverhältnissen Rückschlüsse auf die Prozesse des Metalltransfers vom Boden in die Pflanze ziehen, weil sich die Isotopenverhältnisse durch die Pflanzenaufnahme und den Transport in der Pflanze verändern. Letztendlich wird es dadurch möglich, die Metallgehalte in pflanzlichen Lebensmitteln in Abhängigkeit von der Metallbelastung der Böden vorherzusagen.

Auf der Basis der Ergebnisse dieser Untersuchungen werden Vorschläge erarbeitet, wie sich Metallanreicherungen in pflanzlichen Lebensmitteln vermeiden lassen. Die Ergebnisse sollen der Öffentlichkeit, den Bauern und den Behörden zur Verfügung gestellt werden, um die Nachhaltigkeit landwirtschaftlicher Produktion zu verbessern.   

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.07.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Using isotopes to trace freshly applied cadmium through mineral phosphorus fertilization in soil-fertilizer-plant systems
Wiggenhauser Matthias, Bigalke Moritz, Imseng Martin, Keller Armin, Rehkämper Mark, Wilcke Wolfgang, Frossard Emmanuel (2019), Using isotopes to trace freshly applied cadmium through mineral phosphorus fertilization in soil-fertilizer-plant systems, in Science of The Total Environment, 648, 779-786.
Cadmium isotope fractionation in soil-wheat systems
Wiggenhauser Matthias, Bigalke Moritz, Imseng Martin, Müller Michael, Keller Armin, Murphy Katy, Kreissig Katharine, Rehkämper Mark, Wilcke Wolfgang, Frossard Emmanuel (2018), Cadmium isotope fractionation in soil-wheat systems, in Environmental Science & Techology, 9223-9231.
Zinc isotope fractionation during grain filling of wheat and a comparison of Zn and Cd isotope ratios in identical soil-plant systems
Wiggenhauser Matthias, Bigalke Moritz, Imseng Martin, Keller Armin, Archer Corey, Wilcke Wolfgang, Frossard Emmanuel (2018), Zinc isotope fractionation during grain filling of wheat and a comparison of Zn and Cd isotope ratios in identical soil-plant systems, in New Phytologist, XX(XX), XX-XX.
Fate of Cd in Agricultural Soils: A Stable Isotope Approach to Anthropogenic Impact, Soil Formation, and Soil-Plant Cycling
Imseng Martin Ernst, Wiggenhauser Matthias, Keller Armin, Müller Michael, Rehkämper Mark, Murphy Katy, Kreissig Katharina, Frossard Emmanuel, Wilcke Wolfgang, Bigalke Moritz (2018), Fate of Cd in Agricultural Soils: A Stable Isotope Approach to Anthropogenic Impact, Soil Formation, and Soil-Plant Cycling, in Environmental Science & Technology, (4), 1919-1928.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Isotope Geochemistry/Imperial College London Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Isotope Geochemistry/University of Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
15th Swiss Geoscience meeting Talk given at a conference The fate of P fertilizer-derived Cd in soil-wheat systems. 17.11.2017 Davos, Switzerland Wilcke Wolfgang; Keller Armin; Wiggenhauser Matthias; Bigalke Moritz; Imseng Martin Ernst; Frossard Emmanuel; Müller Michael;
15th Swiss Geoscience meeting Talk given at a conference Copper and zinc stable isotopes as analytical too to trace sources and processes in agricultural systems. 17.11.2017 Davos, Switzerland Müller Michael; Frossard Emmanuel; Imseng Martin Ernst; Bigalke Moritz; Wiggenhauser Matthias; Keller Armin; Wilcke Wolfgang;
Jahrestagung der Deutschen Bodenkundlichen Gesellschaft (DBG) Talk given at a conference Cadmium, copper and zinc stable isotopes as analytical tool to trace sources and processes in agricultural systems. 02.09.2017 Göttingen, Germany Wilcke Wolfgang; Müller Michael; Bigalke Moritz; Keller Armin; Imseng Martin Ernst; Wiggenhauser Matthias; Frossard Emmanuel;
International Conference on the Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements (ICOBTE) Talk given at a conference Zinc isotope fractionation during grain filling of wheat. 16.07.2017 Zürich, Switzerland Imseng Martin Ernst; Wilcke Wolfgang; Bigalke Moritz; Müller Michael; Keller Armin; Wiggenhauser Matthias; Frossard Emmanuel;
International Conference on the Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements (ICOBTE) Talk given at a conference ): Fate of Cd in agricultural soils: A stable isotope approach to anthropogenic impact, soil formation and soil-plant cycling. 16.07.2017 Zürich, Switzerland Wiggenhauser Matthias; Keller Armin; Frossard Emmanuel; Wilcke Wolfgang; Bigalke Moritz; Imseng Martin Ernst; Müller Michael;
Jahrestagung der Bodenkundlichen Gesellschaft der Schweiz (BGS) Talk given at a conference Cadmium fluxes in Swiss arable farming systems. 09.02.2017 Bern, Switzerland Müller Michael; Bigalke Moritz; Keller Armin; Wiggenhauser Matthias; Frossard Emmanuel; Wilcke Wolfgang; Imseng Martin Ernst;
14th Swiss Geoscience meeting Talk given at a conference Fate of fertilizer-derived U in Swiss agricultural soils. 18.11.2016 Genf, Switzerland Imseng Martin Ernst; Wiggenhauser Matthias; Keller Armin; Frossard Emmanuel; Bigalke Moritz; Wilcke Wolfgang; Müller Michael;
14th Swiss Geoscience meeting Talk given at a conference Zinc isotope fractionation during translocation in wheat. 18.11.2016 Genf, Switzerland Müller Michael; Keller Armin; Wilcke Wolfgang; Bigalke Moritz; Imseng Martin Ernst; Wiggenhauser Matthias; Frossard Emmanuel;
26th Goldschmidt Conference Talk given at a conference Cadmium mass and stable isotope budget of three Swiss wheat cropping sites. 20.06.2016 Yokohama, Japan Wilcke Wolfgang; Bigalke Moritz; Müller Michael; Keller Armin; Imseng Martin Ernst; Frossard Emmanuel; Wiggenhauser Matthias;
Annual Conference oft the Swiss Society for Plant Production Sciences Talk given at a conference Cadmium fluxes in soil-fertilizer-wheat systems. 17.03.2016 Zollikofen, Switzerland Frossard Emmanuel; Keller Armin; Wiggenhauser Matthias; Wilcke Wolfgang; Imseng Martin Ernst; Bigalke Moritz; Müller Michael;
13th Swiss Geoscience meeting Talk given at a conference Isotopic fractionation of Cd in agricultural soil-plant systems. 20.11.2015 Basel, Switzerland Müller Michael; Wiggenhauser Matthias; Imseng Martin Ernst; Bigalke Moritz; Wilcke Wolfgang; Frossard Emmanuel; Keller Armin;
Jahrestagung der Deutschen Bodenkundlichen Gesellschaft Talk given at a conference Contribution of mineral phosphate fertilizers to the Cd budget of Swiss wheat production systems as revealed by a flux and a stable isotope budget of Cd. 05.09.2015 München, Germany Wiggenhauser Matthias; Imseng Martin Ernst; Bigalke Moritz; Keller Armin; Frossard Emmanuel; Wilcke Wolfgang;
Jahrestagung der Deutschen Bodenkundlichen Gesellschaft Talk given at a conference Fate of fertilizer-derived U in agricultural soils. 05.09.2015 München, Germany Frossard Emmanuel; Müller Michael; Wilcke Wolfgang; Wiggenhauser Matthias; Bigalke Moritz; Keller Armin; Imseng Martin Ernst;
13th International Conference on the Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements (ICOBTE) Talk given at a conference Cadmium stable isotope fractionation in soil-wheat systems. 12.07.2015 Fukuoka, Japan Keller Armin; Frossard Emmanuel; Imseng Martin Ernst; Wiggenhauser Matthias; Bigalke Moritz; Müller Michael; Wilcke Wolfgang;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Heavy metals from mineral P fertilizers - Workshop am BLW Talk 22.10.2015 Bern, Switzerland Bigalke Moritz;
Pollution of soils and groundwater - Workshop am BAFU Talk 23.06.2015 Ittigen, Switzerland Bigalke Moritz;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions NFP69 Stakeholder-Meeting Western Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland 2017
Talks/events/exhibitions PEAK Course "Groundwater and Agriculture", Neuchâtel Western Switzerland 2017
Talks/events/exhibitions 3 Jahrzehnte Ntionale Bodenbeobachtung Schweiz - NABO-Fachtagung, Agroscope German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Talks/events/exhibitions Phosphorus in Agriculture - Workshop an der ETHZ German-speaking Switzerland 2015

Abstract

Sustainable food production is a main prerequisite to guarantee sufficient and high quality nutrition over long time scales. This depends to a high degree on preserving balanced input and output patterns of nutrients and minimize soil contamination with pollutants like trace metals. Several Swiss and European studies have shown that current trace metal inputs to agricultural systems are clearly too high, resulting in trace metal accumulation in soils and possibly harmful effects on human health and on ecosystem functions in the long run. The reduction of metal loads requires knowledge of all input and output paths which is up to now incomplete. We therefore propose to use the novel metal stable isotope approach for three potentially toxic trace metals (Cu, Cd and Zn) combined with flux budgeting and modeling to identify and quantify metal sources to Swiss agricultural soils. Furthermore, we will also study plant uptake and transfer mechanisms with the help of stable metal isotopes. This approach allows estimating metal accumulation in human food parts of the crops at increasing soil metal accumulation by understanding plant uptake mechanisms. Our study will make use of the sites, archived samples, and a huge database on management practices of the Swiss National Soil Observation (NABO). The results will be used to develop and comunicate management advices to farmers and authorities to improve sustainability of agricultural production and minimize risks to the health of future generations caused by consumption of food enriched in metals.
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