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See detailSoil contamination near a former Zn-Pb ore-treatment plant: Evaluation of deterministic factors and spatial structures at the landscape scale
Liénard, Amandine ULg; Brostaux, Yves ULg; Colinet, Gilles ULg

in Journal of Geochemical Exploration (in press)

Historical soil contamination within a 3 km radius of a former ore treatment plant was evaluated. A total of 247 topsoil samples were collected in a stratified random sampling design taking into account ... [more ▼]

Historical soil contamination within a 3 km radius of a former ore treatment plant was evaluated. A total of 247 topsoil samples were collected in a stratified random sampling design taking into account three factors: land use (LU), soil type (ST) and wind direction (WD). Concentrations of trace elements (Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn) and major elements (Ca, Mg, K, Fe, Al, Mn) as well as various soil properties (pHwater, pHKCl, TOC and N) were measured. Total Cd, Pb and Zn concentrations were higher than typical background values. Enrichment factors for these three metals were, respectively, 260, 77.4 and 35.5. Principal components analysis (PCA) and factor analysis segregated anthropogenic contamination as a premier factor in influencing concentrations, followed by a second lithogenic factor. The anthropogenic origin of substantial contamination was confirmed though mapping of sample locations relative to contaminant sources. Factor 1 (26.5% of the variance) impacts a large area around the contaminated site and is also indicative of WD influence. Factor 2 (23.9% of the variance) is naturally linked to the local lithology and geology. LU and soil fertility are, respectively, represented by factor 3 (16.5% of the variance), which is linked to pH, and factor 4 (9.3% of the variance), related to organic content. The significance of landscape factors in the spatial distribution of metallic trace elements (MTE) was assessed with an ANCOVA using “distance to the source” as a covariate. Results of the analysis support the hypothesis that Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn concentrations are mainly driven by anthropogenic factors, specifically historical industrial activity at the former ore treatment plant. The ANCOVA also provides a means to quantify the impact of LU and ST as well, particularly on MTE availability in soils. The presence of MTE in soil poses known, and potentially significant, risks to both human health and the environment. [less ▲]

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See detailDistribution des propriétés morphologiques et chimiques d’un sol le long d’un versant forestier
Deraedt, Deborah ULg; Degré, Aurore ULg; Colinet, Gilles ULg

in Revue Forestière Française (in press)

La fertilité d’un sol conditionne la productivité des plantes, c’est pourquoi il est intéressant de connaitre la distribution des caractéristiques chimiques et morphologiques du sol afin de permettre une ... [more ▼]

La fertilité d’un sol conditionne la productivité des plantes, c’est pourquoi il est intéressant de connaitre la distribution des caractéristiques chimiques et morphologiques du sol afin de permettre une exploitation et une gestion optimales de celui-ci. Un versant forestier, en pente forte (140m de long, 40m de dénivelée), sur matériaux schisto-gréseux et sous une plantation de résineux fait l’objet d’un suivi du fonctionnement hydrodynamique et pédochimique en relation avec le développement des arbres. Au vu du contexte de forte pente, nous suspectons la présence d’apports par solifluction. La position dans le versant est souvent un facteur de différenciation des sols et, en préalable à l’étude de l’évolution temporelle des propriétés des sols et de la végétation et de l’évolution spatiale des flux d’eau, nous nous sommes attachés à la caractérisation de la distribution des propriétés morphologiques et chimiques le long du versant. Huit fosses ont été creusées et échantillonnées selon les horizons. Outre les descriptions selon un protocole standardisé, nous avons effectué des comptages racinaires, des mesures de densité apparente et de charge caillouteuse. Les analyses en laboratoire visent la caractérisation du statut nutritif : pH, teneurs échangeables (NH4Cl) en K, Mg, Na et Ca, et P assimilable (Dyer). Les résultats confirment l’importance de la différenciation verticale au sein des profils. On notera également une légère tendance à la hausse du pH et des teneurs en éléments nutritifs entre le haut et le bas du versant, à l’exception du dernier profil de la séquence. [less ▲]

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See detailEffets d’amendements carbonatés et organiques sur la culture de deux légumes sur sol contaminé à Lubumbashi (RD Congo)
Mpundu Mubemba, Michel; Useni, Yannick; Nyembo, Lucien et al

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment [=BASE] (in press)

Given the risks of contamination of the vegetables grown in gardens in the city of Lubumbashi due to soil pollution, agronomic solutions to reduce these risks have been experimented. The choice of ... [more ▼]

Given the risks of contamination of the vegetables grown in gardens in the city of Lubumbashi due to soil pollution, agronomic solutions to reduce these risks have been experimented. The choice of appropriate amendments (type and quantity) and the selection of plant varieties able to restrict transfers of trace metals (TM) from the soil to plant edible organs are part of the most conventional remediation techniques. Amaranth and spinach beet have been cultivated in pot trials according to randomized complete blocks with four replications on a contaminated soil that received different doses of liming and/or organic products and slightly contaminated soil. Along with an effect on soil chemistry, the amendments have been effective in reducing the transfer of trace metals from soil to plant. The lime-based treatments were more effective than compost. TM levels in plants however remained high whatever the application of amendments and the question of food chain contamination remains posed. [less ▲]

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See detailÉVOLUTION DE LA TENEUR EN EAU LE LONG D’UNE TOPOSEQUENCE FORESTIERE ARGILO-LIMONEUSE
Deraedt, Deborah ULg; Colinet, Gilles ULg; Degré, Aurore ULg

in Milieux Poreux et Transferts Hydriques (in press)

For the hydrological modeling of forested watersheds, the understanding of the forest hydrodynamic is essential. This study focusses on the hydrology of a Belgian forested plot with high stoniness and ... [more ▼]

For the hydrological modeling of forested watersheds, the understanding of the forest hydrodynamic is essential. This study focusses on the hydrology of a Belgian forested plot with high stoniness and steep slope. The soil water content is monitored at several positions on the toposequence and at different depth. During rain events, peak in soil water content are observed in different depth depending on the position along the toposequence. [less ▲]

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See detailDiversity of Bacterial Communities in a Profile of a Winter Wheat Field: Known and Unknown Members
Stroobants, Aurore ULg; Degrune, Florine ULg; Olivier, Claire et al

in Microbial Ecology (2014)

In soils, bacteria are very abundant and diverse. They are involved in various agro-ecosystem processes such as the nitrogen cycle, organic matter degradation, and soil formation. Yet, little is known ... [more ▼]

In soils, bacteria are very abundant and diverse. They are involved in various agro-ecosystem processes such as the nitrogen cycle, organic matter degradation, and soil formation. Yet, little is known about the distribution and composition of bacterial communities through the soil profile, particularly in agricultural soils, as most studies have focused only on topsoils or forest and grassland soils. In the present work, we have used bar-coded pyrosequencing analysis of the V3 region of the 16S rRNA gene to analyze bacterial diversity in a profile (depths 10, 25, and 45 cm) of a well-characterized field of winter wheat. Taxonomic assignment was carried out with the Ribosomal Database Project (RDP) Classifier program with three bootstrap scores: a main run at 0.80, a confirmation run at 0.99, and a run at 0 to gain information on the unknown bacteria. Our results show that biomass and bacterial quantity and diversity decreased greatly with depth. Depth also had an impact, in terms of relative sequence abundance, on 81 % of the most represented taxonomic ranks, notably the ranks Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteridae, and Acidobacteria. Bacterial community composition differed more strongly between the topsoil (10 and 25 cm) and subsoil (45 cm) than between levels in the topsoil, mainly because of shifts in the carbon, nitrogen, and potassium contents. The subsoil also contained more unknown bacteria, 53.96 % on the average, than did the topsoil, with 42.06 % at 10 cm and 45.59 % at 25 cm. Most of these unknown bacteria seem to belong to Deltaproteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Rhizobiales, and Acidobacteria. [less ▲]

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See detailSoil infrastructure evolution and its effect on water transfer processes under contrasted tillage systems - overview of methodologies with preliminary results
Parvin, Nargish ULg; Colinet, Gilles ULg; Garré, Sarah ULg et al

Conference (2014, June 10)

The heterogeneity of soil structure and porosity are highly influenced by external factors like tillage systems and other land management approaches. The aim of this project is to investigate the effect ... [more ▼]

The heterogeneity of soil structure and porosity are highly influenced by external factors like tillage systems and other land management approaches. The aim of this project is to investigate the effect of soil tillage along with residue management on the changing pattern of soil structure. This investigation will help to emphasize the different water flow dynamics especially the preferential flow processes through the soil that are influenced by the changes in structural distribution in the soil profile. The experimentation has been started from June 2013 in the research field in Gembloux. Soil profile description together with soil sampling has been carried out in the four objects of land management. Soil samples will be used for the measurement of water retention capacity (done), hydraulic conductivity and x-ray microtomography. The assessment of soil water retention curves with pressure plate technique show significantly (p<0.05) higher water retention (Hwr) in WP than ST at 9.8 to 98 hPa, Hwr in WP than NI at 39 to 14710 hPa, Hwr in ST than NI at 294 to 14710 hPa and Hwr in WP than NO at 69 to 98 hPa. There was no significant difference in the water retention between NO and NI and ST and NO. Since, tillage practices generally increase soil porosity, the correlation between soil hydraulics and porosity distribution would expect to be different for different tillage systems. In our study, WP retains more water due to the increase of macroporosity than ST, NI and NO. As the changes in soil structure are usually noticed in the range of 9.8 to 98 hPa, so, we can conclude that there is certainly structural change between WP and conservation practices of ST, NI and NO. In our study, there will be also soil moisture sensors (Decagon 10HS, 5TM and ML3 Thetaprobe) to capture the total soil moisture networks in the field under four different trials. The soils from the different trials and also from different depths (0-15, 25-30 and 50-60 cm) were used for zone specific calibration of the sensors. All the experiments will be repeated twice a year. For the specific spatio-temporal comparison, the monitoring results from electrical resistance tomography will be available from the collaborated project of the same faculty. [less ▲]

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See detailEffects of tillage practices and crop residue exportation on earthworm communities and soil physico-­chemical properties in silt loam arable soil (Belgium)
Lemtiri, Aboulkacem ULg; Colinet, Gilles ULg; Alabi, Taofic ULg et al

Poster (2014, June 08)

Earthworms are known to play integral roles in soils, and are often referred to as vital soil and ecosystem engineers due to their capacity to influence a wide range of chemical, physical, and biological ... [more ▼]

Earthworms are known to play integral roles in soils, and are often referred to as vital soil and ecosystem engineers due to their capacity to influence a wide range of chemical, physical, and biological properties of soil environments. Therefore, it is important to understand how earthworm communities are impacted by tillage systems and crop management practices. In the present study, earthworm and soil samples were collected from wheat cultivated fields in Gembloux, Belgium under the following four experimental treatments: (1) conventional tillage with crop residues left in the soil (CT/IN); (2) conventional tillage with crop residues removed from the field (CT/OUT); (3) reduced tillage with crop residues left in the soil (RT/IN); and (4) reduced tillage with crop residues removed from the field (RT/OUT). The different tillage systems were applied for four consecutive years prior to the initiation of the current study. Results indicated soil compaction was significantly higher in RT compared with CT up to a depth of 6–49 cm. Significant differences were not detected between residue incorporation depth systems, where results showed mean earthworm abundance was respectively 182.25 and 180 individuals.m-2 in CT and RT. Mean earthworm biomass was similarly not significantly different between CT and RT, where results were respectively 48.52 and 57.27 g.m-2. However, a significant difference was observed between IN and OUT treatments, suggesting the exportation of wheat residues will limit earthworm abundance and biomass in CT and RT plots. Data showed high representation of the endogeic earthworm ecological category, notably N. c. caliginosus regardless of treatment. Despite tillage system and exportation of crop residues, N. c. caliginosus, L. terrestris, and A. r. rosea exhibited high abundance, indicating tolerance to soil environmental conditions. For each depth, measures of soil physico-chemical properties showed significant differences among treatments. Furthermore, soil chemical property attributes were significantly higher in the first soil centimetres compared to lower soil layers. These results were attributable to earthworm activity and wheat residues, suggesting earthworms contributed to nutrient dynamics, particularly at increased soil depths. Overall, the results emphasise the influence of exportation of crop residues on earthworm community and also, the important influence of earthworm activity on soil physico-chemical properties change, processes which are closely linked. [less ▲]

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See detailSynthèse bibliographique sur la mobilité des éléments traces dans les sols et l’utilisation de la stabilisation physico-chimique comme technique de gestion in situ des sites contaminés
Liénard, Amandine ULg; Colinet, Gilles ULg

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment [=BASE] (2014), 18(2), 273-289

Industrial activities have deeply impacted the quality of biophysical environment at places. This review focuses on consequences of soil contaminations by metallic trace elements: what conditions the ... [more ▼]

Industrial activities have deeply impacted the quality of biophysical environment at places. This review focuses on consequences of soil contaminations by metallic trace elements: what conditions the mobility of contaminants in soils and what are the remediation practices based upon physico-chemical stabilization? This technique is an in situ remediation which aims at limiting the dispersion of metals in the environment by use of soil conditioners and amendments in contaminated sites. First of all, we reviewed the concepts of mobility of trace elements and their indicators. Then, we compiled the different kinds of amendments applied to stabilize contaminants in soils and the processes involved. [less ▲]

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See detailImpacts of earthworms on soil components and dynamics. A review
Lemtiri, Aboulkacem ULg; Colinet, Gilles ULg; Alabi, Taofic ULg et al

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment [=BASE] (2014), 18

Earthworm populations are important decomposers contributing to aggregate formation and nutrient cycling processes involving nitrogen cycles, phosphorus and carbon. They are known to influence soil ... [more ▼]

Earthworm populations are important decomposers contributing to aggregate formation and nutrient cycling processes involving nitrogen cycles, phosphorus and carbon. They are known to influence soil fertility by participating to important processes in soil such as soil structure regulation and organic matter dynamics. Earthworms also modify the microbial communities through digestion, stimulation and dispersion in casts. Consequently, changes in the activities of earthworm communities, as a result of soil management practices, can also be used as indicators of soil fertility and quality. It is therefore important to understand how earthworm communities affect soil dynamics. This review adresses the current state of knowledge on earthworm’s impacts on soil structure and soil organic matter (carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus) dynamics, with special emphasis on the effects of land management practices on earthworm communities. [less ▲]

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See detailEffects of Eisenia fetida on metal uptake of heavy metals from polluted soils by Vicia faba and Zea Mays
Lemtiri, Aboulkacem ULg; Liénard, Amandine ULg; Francis, Frédéric ULg et al

Poster (2014, February 26)

Earthworms are known to increase availability of heavy metals in soils and also play an important role in maintaining the structure and quality of soil. The introduction of earthworms into soils ... [more ▼]

Earthworms are known to increase availability of heavy metals in soils and also play an important role in maintaining the structure and quality of soil. The introduction of earthworms into soils contaminated with metals has been suggested as an aid for phytoremediation processes. In Belgium (Wallonia), a century of industrial metallurgic activities produced significant heavy metal soil pollution. A large q u a n t i t y o f s m e l t e r w a s t e c r e a t e d a g r a d i e n t o f zi n c, lead and cadmium c o n c e n t r a t i o n . The objectives of our study were to evaluate : (i) the potential toxicity of heavy metal elements on the epigeic earthworms Eisenia fetida and on two plants Zea mays and Vicia faba and (ii) to determine the effects of the earthworms on the growth and contaminants phytoextraction process. The combination of behavioural factor measurements (survival, growth, reproduction of earthworms), physico-chemical parameters such as metal absorption, bioaccumulation by earthworms, soil physico-chemical changes, and plant responses (root and shoot elongation, dried biomass,…) provided a valuable indication of pollutant bioavailability and ecotoxicity. After 56-days exposure, the results suggest that adult earthworms have a strong tolerance for heavy metals exposure, but the responses depend on metal elements. Earthworms modify the bioavailable heavy metals in root and shoot in the contaminated soils and their activities alter shoot and root biomass of V. faba and Z. mays. The presence of earthworms led to a change in physico-chemical caracteristics in contaminated soils. These results show that the ecological context for phytoremediation should be broadened by considering earthwom – plant – soil interactions as they influence both plant health and absorption of heavy metals. [less ▲]

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See detailOn the use of Belgian Soil Map to predict risk of nitrate and pesticide lixiviation
Bah, Boubacar Billo ULg; Vandenberghe, Christophe ULg; Deneufbourg, Mathieu ULg et al

Poster (2014, February 26)

Pollution by nitrate and pesticides has impacts on drinking water reserves and aquatic systems. Nowadays, this problem is the key point of the European Policy with the implementation of the Water ... [more ▼]

Pollution by nitrate and pesticides has impacts on drinking water reserves and aquatic systems. Nowadays, this problem is the key point of the European Policy with the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC). According to these legislations, Member States are supposed to take measures to limit environmental and toxicological effects caused by nitrate and pesticides use. This paper presents three different approaches allowing assessment of diffuse (non-point sources) pollution risks of water resources by nitrate and pesticides. The first approach consists on the interpretation of the geomorphopedological information (geologic substratum type, presence of karst phenomena, soil texture, natural drainage, profile development, type and percent of stoniness, soil thickness, …) provided by the Digital Soil Map of Wallonia. Soil physical characteristics are assessed in terms of soil water percolation/infiltration, runoff, pollutants retention, mineralization, and erosion. Second approach consists on the use of spatially distributed mechanistic models. Nitrate lixiviation from agricultural land to groundwater has been simulated from the SWAT model. Pesticide lixiviation from soil to groundwater has been predicted from the one-dimensional, dynamic, multi-layered model named PEARL (Pesticide Emission Assessment at Regional and Local scales). Model input parameters are mainly extracted from the existing soil physical and physico-chemical, crop and pesticides properties databases. Relevant soil parameters not directly available in existing databases, such as bulk density, hydraulic conductivity, potential evapotranspiration… have been derived from pedotransfers functions. Third approach consists on in situ lixiviation studies by the way of lysimeters. Concentrations measured at the bottom (2 m deep) of lysimeters represent a straight “index of risk” for groundwater and, on the other hand, allow the validation of simulation models used to predict nitrate and pesticides lixiviation risk under different scenarios. The Digital Soil Map of Wallonia, one of the core data source, allows the spatialisation of the predicted lixiviation risk at regional level, providing to the local authorities and the decision makers a tool for the identification of the areas at risk of pollution, where specific monitoring actions and prevention measures for the protection of waters can be implemented. [less ▲]

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See detailPlants & metals in soil : the concept of phytoremediation
Evlard, Aricia ULg; Colinet, Gilles ULg; Druart, Philippe

Conference (2014, February 26)

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