HOW AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY CAN CONTRIBUTE TO DEALING WITH PROBLEMS OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION
Keywords:soil chemistry, heavy metal pollution, redox and complexing reactions, xenobiotic degradation
Soil is a complex heterogeneous system whose physical, chemical and biological properties regulate interactions with the chemical species which reach its surface. Soil chemistry is an essential tool for understanding and predicting these interactions. Soil is able to immobilize and transform organic and inorganic molecules by different mechanisms, such as complexing and redox reactions. This behaviour gives soil detoxifying capacities towards pollutants which accumulate in the environment. Pollution by heavy metals is regulated by their solubility in soil solution which in turn depends on soil pH and redox properties and metal speciation. Organic and inorganic colloidal soil fractions can promote the immobilisation, degradation, and diffusion of organic molecules such as agrochemicals, solvents, hydrocarbons and other chemicals which reach the soil by anthropic activities. Predicting the fate of xenobiotics in soil, water, air, and plant ecosystems, the recycling of biomass and the decontamination of polluted soils are of major concern to soil chemistry.
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