European journal of soil science vol:59 issue:6 pages:1087-1095
It is well established that dissolved organic matter (DOM) mobilizes copper (Cu) in soils but it is unknown to what extent variable DOM quality affects this. During a 5 month period, 250 leachates of an uncontaminated agricultural soil were sampled at 45 cm depth using passive capillary wick samplers. The dissolved Cu and organic carbon (DOC) concentrations varied sevenfold and were weakly correlated (r = 0.56). The [Cu] : [DOC] ratio varied fivefold and exhibited a significant positive correlation (r = 0.77) with the specific UV-absorbance of DOM at 254 nm (SUVA), indicating that the more aromatic DOM had higher Cu affinity. The dissolved Cu concentrations were predicted by an assemblage model in WHAM6 using the composition of the solid phase above the wick samplers and that of the solution, including DOC. The predicted [Cu] : [DOC] ratio was almost constant when assuming default DOM properties with 65% of all DOM active as fulvic acid (%AFA). The %AFA was subsequently varied proportionally to the SUVA of DOM and using the SUVA of pure FA (SUVA(FA)) as a fitting parameter. In that case, the variation in the predicted [Cu] : [DOC] ratio was much larger and the predicted Cu concentrations were within a factor of 1.4 of the measured values for 90% of the samples. The fitted SUVA(FA) was 38 l g(-1) cm(-1), in excellent agreement with that of Suwannee River FA (SUVA(FA) = 37 l g(-1) cm(-1)). It is concluded that the DOM quality, e.g. the aromaticity, should be taken into account when estimating Cu mobility in soils.