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    Description

    We measured soil chemical and microbial properties at a depth of 0–20 cm among mine tailings, abandoned mined land, contaminated cropland, and uncontaminated cropland around a magnesite mine near Haicheng City, Liaoning Province, China. The objective was to clarify the impact of Mg on the soils. We found that soluble Mg2+ concentration and pH were significantly higher in contaminated soils (266–345 mg kg-1 and 9.9-10.3, respectively) than in uncontaminated soils (140 mg kg-1 and 7.1, respectively). Soil nutrients (total N, total P, mineral N, available P and soluble Ca) and microbial biomass C and N decreased as pH and soluble Mg2+ concentration increased. In addition, an increase of microbial metabolic quotient and a decrease of N mineralization rate were found in contaminated soils. Soluble Mg2+/Ca2+ ratios in contaminated soils were 3.5–8.9 times higher than in uncontaminated soils. Our results indicate that soil contamination in such magnesite mine regions is characterized by high pH, Mg2+ concentration and soluble Mg2+/Ca2+ ratio, and low microbial activity and N and P availability. Future soil amelioration in the magnesite regions should consider applying acid ameliorants to neutralize high pH and applying calcareous ameliorants to increase Ca2+ concentration.

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    Citation

    Yang, D; Zeng, D-H; Zhang, J; Li, L-J; Mao, R. 2012. Chemical and microbial properties in contaminated soils around a magnesite mine in northeast China. Land Degradation & Development 23:256-262.

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    Keywords

    Magnesium dust, soil contamination, soil microbial activity, soil microbial biomass, Northeast China, soil chemistry

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