Recovery of the biological function of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid-washed soils: Roles of environmental variations and microbes

Hang Wei, Ye Liu, Yuanqing Chao, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Nan Zhao, Kunyuan Liu, Weihua Zhang, Rongliang Qiu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


To understand the recovery of the biological functions of washed soil, we studied changes in the microbial communities of soils washed with 10 or 60 mmol kg−1 ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) for 90 d of incubation. The relative abundance of tolerant or degrading species decreased, while that of microorganisms with chemical autotrophic ability increased as the incubation time increased. The changes in the enzyme activity followed different trends. As an intracellular enzyme, dehydrogenase was initially most severely damaged by the washing process but could recover over time, while the activity of urease increased after washing with EDTA, which may be related to the use of N as a nutrient source by microorganisms. Phosphatase did not significantly change over time. The redundancy discriminant analyses indicated that there were distinct factors driving such changes in the soils washed with different EDTA dosages. For the soil washed with 10 mmol kg−1 EDTA, bacteria with tolerance or degradation capacity of toxic pollutants, such as Nocardioidaceae, played a more important role in the recovery of soil functions; therefore, the EDTA stress indicator was the main driving factor. However, in the soil washed with 60 mmol kg−1 EDTA, chemolithoautotrophic bacteria, such as Nitrososphaeraceae, exerted a greater influence on the recovery of biological functions due to the higher loss of nutrients and EDTA residue; therefore, the main driving factor was the nutrients supply.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137032
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Biological function
  • EDTA-washed soils
  • Enzymatic activity
  • Microbial community

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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