Soil degradation processes in Europe like organic matter depletion accompanied with metal contamination and salinisation increasing rapidly becoming serious threat to environment. The key purposes of proposed research are i) advancing our understanding of organic matter-metals-salt interactions and their influence on metals bioavailability in soil solution, phytoaccumulation in food crops, leaching from the rhizosphere, and potential contamination of water resources, and ii) enhancing our capacity to link experimentation and modelling in advancing the knowledge of the chemical interactions. By experimental approach with horticultural crops in i) chelate-buffered and isotopic labelled nutrient solution culture and ii) soil culture will be observed the influence of factorial combination of 4 levels of organo-metalocomplexes, 3 levels of free ionic form of metals (Cd, Zn and Cu) and 3 levels of metalo-chlorocomplexes on minerals phytoaccumulation and their leaching from the rhizosphere. Chemical interactions and forms of elements in the rhizosphere with in/organic ligands and their binding to colloidal mineral/organic surfaces will be i) analytically detected and ii) modelled by chemical equilibrium software, and thereafter related with metals concentration in plant tissues. The innovation in this proposal stems from very precise metals spatial distribution (from the rhizosphere to edible crop tissues) what will be obtained by using a novel approach for studying isotope/trace element distributions in plant cells/tissues such as the NanoSIMS, i.e. the state-of-the-art in situ microanalysis by secondary ion mass spectrometry. This project will be underpinned by multidisciplinary approaches of the research team to enable rigorous science supporting practical applications to ensure food safety and protect natural resources by sustainable management of soil organic matter on metal-contaminated and salt-affected lands.
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