Co operative Research Center for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment

Adelaide, Australia

Co operative Research Center for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment

Adelaide, Australia
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Wightwick A.M.,University of Queensland | Wightwick A.M.,Co operative Research Center for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment | Wightwick A.M.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Reichman S.M.,CSIC - Center for Environmental Sciences | And 2 more authors.
Water, Air, and Soil Pollution | Year: 2013

Long-term exposure to elevated copper (Cu) concentrations may affect the ability of soil microbes to withstand additional transient disturbances, such as heat. Bulk surface soil samples collected from three south east Australian locations were spiked with a series of Cu concentrations ranging from 0 to 1,000 mg/kg. To determine the effect of increasing soil Cu concentrations on phosphomonoesterase and urease activity following a simulated heat disturbance, aliquots of each of the Cu-treated soils were exposed to 60 C for 24 h (perturbed group), and phosphomonoesterase and urease activity measured after 1, 2 and 7 days. Without heat disturbance, the Cu concentration causing significant inhibition of enzyme activity ranged from 50 to >1,000 mg/kg added Cu for phosphomonoesterase activity and 500 to > 1,000 mg/kg added Cu for urease activity. The Cu pre-exposure concentration increased the susceptibility of phosphomonoesterase activity but not urease activity to the heat disturbance. However, this did not follow a clear dose-response relationship and the effects were not lasting. The response differed according to soil type, with decreased resistance to heat found at concentrations ranging from 100 mg/kg added Cu in the silty loam soil to >1,000 mg/kg added Cu in the clay loam soil. The results from this study suggest that, at the concentrations of Cu typically reported in agricultural soils, Cu stress is unlikely to cause lasting alterations to the susceptibility of soil enzymes to a single moderate heat disturbance. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Wightwick A.M.,University of Queensland | Wightwick A.M.,Co operative Research Center for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment | Wightwick A.M.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Croatto G.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | And 7 more authors.
Water, Air, and Soil Pollution | Year: 2013

The use of Cu-based fungicide can pose a risk to nearby surface water bodies due to the run-off of accumulated Cu from agricultural soils. In 2008, we conducted a reconnaissance survey of the presence and concentration of copper in sediments at 18 sites within the Yarra River Catchment, an important horticultural production system in south-eastern Australia. Observed Cu concentrations in sediment samples from the study sites (mean (95 % confidence interval) 12.0 (10.6-13.6) mg/kg dry weight) were similar to the concentrations present in the samples from the reference sites (mean (95 % confidence interval) 12.0 (6.7-16.8) mg/kg dry weight). The data on Cu and other metals in the sediments suggest that that there is unlikely to have been wide spread, diffuse, off-site transport of Cu from the soils of horticultural properties to nearby surface waterways in the Yarra River Catchment and that that observed sediment metal concentrations are unlikely to pose an ecological risk to sediment-dwelling organisms at the study sites. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Wightwick A.M.,Co operative Research Center for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment | Wightwick A.M.,University of Queensland | Wightwick A.M.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Croatto G.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | And 2 more authors.
Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis | Year: 2010

There are few readily available standard reference soils for which 0.01 M calcium chloride (CaCl2) soil extraction available metals data are available. This study assessed the ease with which new available metals data could be generated for reference soils. Data on 0.01 M CaCl2 available elements for four reference soils from the Wageningen Evaluating Programs for Analytical Laboratories and three reference soils from the Australasian Soil and Plant Analysis Council proficiency testing program are presented. It is difficult to generate new 0.01 M CaCl2 available metal values for standard reference soils, because trace element concentrations are low and measurements have relatively high variability. We suggest that laboratories can use reference soils as quality control samples in the analysis of 0.01 M CaCl2 available metals by reporting recoveries for major elements (e.g., potassium [K], magnesium [Mg], and sodium [Na], for which reference values are of high reliability) to provide assurance of acceptable extraction efficiency. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Wightwick A.M.,University of Queensland | Wightwick A.M.,Co operative Research Center for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment | Wightwick A.M.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Salzman S.A.,Deakin University | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry | Year: 2010

This study determined the environmental availability of copper (Cu) in Australian vineyard soils contaminated with fungicide derived Cu residues, and investigated the soil characteristics correlated with differences in Cu availability between regions. Concentrations of 0.01 M calcium chloride extractable Cu, measured in surface soils collected from 98 vineyards in 10 different grape-growing regions of Australia, ranged from <0.1 to 0.94 mg/kg and accounted for 0.10-1.03% of the total Cu concentrations in the soils. Differences in the calcium chloride extractable Cu concentrations were related to the total Cu concentration and soil properties, including pH, clay, exchangeable K, silt, and calcium carbonate. The information generated from this study may prove useful in devising strategies to reduce the availability and toxicity of Cu in agricultural soils. © 2009 American Chemical Society.


Wightwick A.M.,University of Queensland | Wightwick A.M.,Co operative Research Center for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment | Wightwick A.M.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Reichman S.M.,RMIT University | And 3 more authors.
Water, Air, and Soil Pollution | Year: 2013

There are concerns over the environmental risks posed by Cu-based fungicide use, and there is community and regulatory pressure on viticultural industries to restrict the use of Cu-based fungicides. This study assesses the relative environmental risks posed by Cu-based and alternative synthetic organic fungicide compounds used in Australian vineyards, giving particular consideration to their adverse effects on soil microbial activity and how risks vary across different viticultural regions. The study was guided by key steps in the ecological risk assessment framework to analyse the risks of Cu-based fungicides towards soil organisms and involved four key steps: (1) problem formulation, (2) analysis (characterise exposure and effects), (3) risk characterisation and (4) risk assessment. There is evidence of a build-up of Cu-based fungicide residues in Australian vineyard soils, although this has occurred over many years, thus allowing the availability of Cu in the soil to be attenuated over time due to aging processes. On the whole, it appears that Cu-based fungicide residues are currently unlikely to pose a significant risk to soil organisms in Australian vineyard soils. However, there are indicators that continued applications of Cu-based fungicides may well have implications on the use of impacted land for sustainable agricultural production. Further detailed studies are required to enable a more definitive characterisation of the risks posed by Cu-based fungicide residues, such as establishing a clearer link between the laboratory and agricultural settings, investigating effects on other indicators of microbial activity and biodiversity and understanding the resilience of soil microbes to additional stressors. The challenge for agricultural industries and governments, both in Australia and globally, is to formulate appropriate plans to reduce the risks associated with Cu-based fungicide use. Further research is required to consider the relative risks of a wide range of alternative fungicide compounds to ensure that they pose a lower environmental risk than the Cu-based fungicides they may replace. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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