Uranium Budget and Leaching in Swiss Agricultural Systems

Bigalke, Moritz; Imseng, Martin; Schneider, Stephan; Schwab, Lorenz; Wiggenhauser, Matthias; Keller, Armin; Müller, Michael; Frossard, Emmanuel; Wilcke, Wolfgang (2020). Uranium Budget and Leaching in Swiss Agricultural Systems. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 8(54) Frontiers Media 10.3389/fenvs.2020.00054

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Many mineral P fertilizers contain toxic uranium (U) in high concentrations. When the fertilizers are applied to agricultural sites, U can either accumulate in the soil or leach to ground and surface waters. We analyzed the U fluxes at three arable and three grassland agricultural sites on the Swiss plateau for 1 year. We calculated all inputs and outputs to the soils, modeled the speciation of U in the soil solution and investigated the possible leaching of U along preferential flow paths. We found that all sites showed positive U budgets (+0.9–6.6 g ha–1 y–1), indicating an accumulation of U. However, the accumulation of U was low and a doubling of U concentration in the surface soil would need 850–2,660 years assuming today’s U fluxes. Mineral P fertilizers were the quantitatively most important input, followed by manure application and mineral weathering (only important in the soils developed on limestone). While at sites with slightly acidic pH only little U (<0.01 μg L–1) was leached, the U leaching increased at neutral pH values, because of the formation of carbonato-U complexes. In all soil solutions, the U concentrations (≤0.8 μg L–1) were below legal threshold values and comparable to local drinking and surface waters. We found no indication for enhanced U leaching along preferential flow paths.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Soil Science
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Bigalke, Moritz; Imseng, Martin Ernst and Schneider, Stephan

Subjects:

500 Science > 540 Chemistry
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology

ISSN:

2296-665X

Publisher:

Frontiers Media

Language:

English

Submitter:

Milo Robin Jan Fieber

Date Deposited:

12 Jun 2020 17:18

Last Modified:

12 Jun 2020 17:18

Publisher DOI:

10.3389/fenvs.2020.00054

Uncontrolled Keywords:

uranium, metal flux, metal leaching, agriculture, mineral P fertilizer

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.144524

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/144524

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