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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2007

Spatial distribution of heavy metals in agricultural soils of an industry-based peri-urban area in Wuxi, China

Zhao, YC; Shi, X.Z.; Huang, Bangquan; Yu, D.S.; Wang, HJ; Sun, W; Öborn, Ingrid; Blombäck, Karin


In industry-oriented peri-urban areas, the heavy metal accumulation in soils caused by industrialization has become a potential threat. The top soil samples from 27 paddy fields and 75 vegetable fields were collected from a typical industry-based peri-urban area of about 8 km(2) in Wuxi, China, to study the accumulation and distribution of As, Hg, Cu, Zn, Pb, Cr, and Cd in comparison with heavy metal contents in soils near developed industrial sites (Guangzhou, China; Wallsend Burn of Tyneside, UK; and Osnabruck, Germany). Kriging interpolation was used to determine the metals' spatial distribution. The results showed that most soils, compared to the background values, contained elevated contents of As, Hg, Cu, Zn, and Pb with some having elevated contents of Cd and Cr. Except for less than 10% of the soil samples of Cu, Zn and Cd contents, these heavy metal contents were lower than the soil threshold levels of the Grade II criteria for the Chinese environmental quality standard. Probably, because of the scattered distribution and diversity of industries in the study area, spatial distributions of these heavy metals from Kriging interpolation indicated little similarity. Nevertheless, when compared with other areas in the Taihu Lake region, mean contents of Cu, Zn, Pb, and Cd were relatively high in the Wuxi peri-urban area. Additionally, compared to soils in agricultural areas around Guangzhou, Osnabriick, or Wallsend Burn, contents of most heavy metals in soils from this area were lower.


agricultural soil; heavy metals; peri-urban area; spatial distribution

Published in

2007, Volume: 17, number: 1, pages: 44-51

    SLU Authors

    • Öborn, Ingrid

      • Department of Soil Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
    • UKÄ Subject classification

      Soil Science

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