Remediation of heavy metal(loid)s contaminated soils - To mobilize or to immobilize?

Nanthi Bolan, Anitha Kunhikrishnan, Ramya Thangarajan, Jurate Kumpiene, Jinhee Park, Tomoyuki Makino, Mary Beth Kirkham, Kirk Scheckel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1543 Citations (Scopus)


Unlike organic contaminants, metal(loid)s do not undergo microbial or chemical degradation and persist for a long time after their introduction. Bioavailability of metal(loid)s plays a vital role in the remediation of contaminated soils. In this review, the remediation of heavy metal(loid) contaminated soils through manipulating their bioavailability using a range of soil amendments will be presented. Mobilizing amendments such as chelating and desorbing agents increase the bioavailability and mobility of metal(loid)s. Immobilizing amendments such of precipitating agents and sorbent materials decrease the bioavailabilty and mobility of metal(loid)s. Mobilizing agents can be used to enhance the removal of heavy metal(loid)s though plant uptake and soil washing. Immobilizing agents can be used to reduce the transfer to metal(loid)s to food chain via plant uptake and leaching to groundwater. One of the major limitations of mobilizing technique is susceptibility to leaching of the mobilized heavy metal(loid)s in the absence of active plant uptake. Similarly, in the case of the immobilization technique the long-term stability of the immobilized heavy metal(loid)s needs to be monitored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-166
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb 15


  • Bioavailability
  • Metalloids
  • Metals
  • Mobility
  • Soil amendments


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