Soil lead concentration and speciation in community farms of newark, new jersey, usa

Omanjana Goswami, Ashaki A. Rouff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Farmed urban soils often bear legacies of historic contamination from anthropogenic and industrial sources. Soils from seven community farms in Newark, New Jersey (NJ), USA, were ana-lyzed to determine the concentration and speciation of lead (Pb) depending on garden location and cultivation status. Samples were evaluated using single-step 1 M nitric acid (HNO3) and Tessier sequential extractions in combination with X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (XAFS) analysis. Single-step extractable Pb concentration ranged from 22 to 830 mg kg−1, with 21% of samples reporting concentrations of Pb > 400 mg kg−1, which is the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) limit for residential soils. Sequential extractions indicated lowest Pb concentrations in the exchangeable fraction (0–211 mg kg−1), with highest concentrations (0–3002 mg kg−1) in the oxidizable and reducible fractions. For samples with Pb > 400 mg kg−1, Pb distribution was mostly uniform in particle size fractions of <0.125–1 mm, with slightly higher Pb concentrations in the <0.125 mm fraction. XAFS analysis confirmed that Pb was predominantly associated with pyromorphite, iron–manganese oxides and organic matter. Overall results showed that lowest concentrations of Pb are detected in raised beds, whereas uncultivated native soil and parking lot samples had highest values of Pb. As most of the Pb is associated with reducible and oxidizable soil fractions, there is a lower risk of mobility and bioavailability. However, Pb exposure through ingestion and inhalation pathways is still of concern when directly handling the soil. With increasing interest in urban farming in cities across the USA, this study highlights the need for awareness of soil contaminants and the utility of coupled macroscopic and molecular-scale geochemical techniques to understand the distribution and speciation of soil Pb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalSoil Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes


  • Community farms
  • Metal sorption
  • Newark, NJ
  • Pb contamination
  • Spectroscopy
  • Urban soil
  • XAFS


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