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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 924891, 12 pages
Research Article

The Solid Phase Distribution and Bioaccessibility of Arsenic, Chromium, and Nickel in Natural Ironstone Soils in the UK

1British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham NG12 5GG, UK
2Cherwell District Council 2013 Bodicote House, Bodicote, Banbury OX15 4AA, UK

Received 26 July 2013; Revised 19 December 2013; Accepted 27 January 2014; Published 5 March 2014

Academic Editor: Balwant Singh

Copyright © 2014 Joanna Wragg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Thirty soil samples (12 residential gardens and 18 allotments) were collected from the Cherwell District of north Oxfordshire in south-central England. The underlying parent geology of the area is dominated by Jurassic ironstone. The samples were analysed for their total contents of As, Cr, and Ni by X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and for the bioaccessible fractions of these elements using a physiologically based extraction test. Four soils (two residential soils and two allotment soils) were chosen for further determination of their element solid phase distribution. The study showed that whilst total concentrations of As, Cr, and Ni are elevated due to the soil parent material, the bioaccessibility test showed that only a small proportion of the total concentration is available for absorption into the human body (<15%). The sequential extraction test showed that the nonmobile forms of the elements are strongly sorbed on to iron oxides. Parent material geology has a significant effect on the total element concentrations and the bioaccessibility of potentially harmful element (PHE). Land use does not show such a large effect but the allotment bioaccessibility data show a bigger spread and possibly higher values for As and Cr which may be due to agronomic (cultivation) practices such as addition of fertilisers and organic matter.