The impact of organic matter on heavy metal bioavailability in urban soils: experimental and field-based approaches
Researchers: Hannah Binner, Dr Maria McNamara
Heavy metal (HM) contamination in urban soils is a major global geohazard, but data on this issue in Ireland is lacking, particularly the extent to which the amount and type of soil organic matter affects the bioavailability and chemical state of HM. Thisresearch will resolve these issues using a powerful dual approach combining the first systematic survey of urban soils in southern Ireland, focussing on soils in recreational areas, and innovative laboratory experiments exploring the impact of different sources of organic matter on heavy metal solubility, oxidation state and local chemical environment. The study will provide baseline data on the extent and toxicity of HM contamination in Irish urban recreational soils, guiding planning and bioremediation, and will serve as a platform for developing research capacity on the fate of HM in the geosphere. Diverse dissemination activities will ensure visibility of the research amongst academics, policymakers and the public.