Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Soil guideline values regarding to the transfer of the potentially toxic substances to the food chain

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.02  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production  Soil and micro-climate 

Code Science Field
B006  Biomedical sciences  Agronomics 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
soil pollution, food safety, metal bioavailability, soil guideline values
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (17)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  21401  PhD Zlatka Bajc  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2018  81 
2.  05373  PhD Ivan Eržen  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2016 - 2018  674 
3.  19901  Andrej Glinšek  Chemistry  Researcher  2016 - 2018  183 
4.  16073  PhD Helena Grčman  Plant production  Head  2016 - 2018  458 
5.  17775  Rozalija Ilc    Technical associate  2016 - 2018  21 
6.  39640  MSc Matej Ivartnik  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2017 - 2018  61 
7.  21704  PhD Jožica Ježek  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2018  317 
8.  11637  PhD Mojca Juričić  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2016 - 2018  151 
9.  11408  PhD Stanislava Kirinčič  Chemistry  Researcher  2016 - 2018  99 
10.  24778  PhD Katarina Pavšič Vrtač  Animal production  Researcher  2017 - 2018  59 
11.  23944  PhD Jože Starič  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2018  478 
12.  14056  PhD Marjetka Suhadolc  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  260 
13.  19946  PhD Agnes Šomen Joksič  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2016 - 2018  194 
14.  07811  PhD Gabrijela Tavčar Kalcher  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2018  153 
15.  19261  Irena Tič    Technical associate  2016 - 2018  240 
16.  10037  PhD Nives Vrbič Kugonič  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2016 - 2018  387 
17.  08834  PhD Marko Zupan  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  515 
Organisations (5)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0381  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine  Ljubljana  1627066  48,543 
2.  0406  University of Ljubljana, Veterinary Faculty  Ljubljana  1627139  10,862 
3.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,962 
4.  1007  Eurofins ERICo Slovenija Inštitut za ekološke raziskave d.o.o. (Slovene)  Velenje  5583055000  2,451 
5.  3333  National Institut of Public Health  Ljubljana  6462642  18,462 
The main objective of the project is testing the soil quality guidelines for the content of dangerous substances in the agricultural soil, and the possibility of transference of these elements into the food chain. Current legislation and proposition of a new decree convey soil quality standard based on total content of dangerous substances in the soil, determined by aqua regia digestion. Since other soil properties also influence plant metal availability, such as soil pH, organic matter content, texture, carbonates, phosphorus, some states prescribe values for plant available forms of metals, determined by the use of various extraction solution. For example, Austria and Germany stipulate guideline values for selected plant available metals, determined by ammonium nitrate extraction, Switzerland selected plant available metals determined by sodium nitrate and the Netherlands by calcium chloride. Introducing standards for plant available metals in the soil is sensible, since often certain total metal content exceeds imposed soil quality standard, yet bio-availability of that metal is very low, and as such, plant uptake is very low. In such cases, certain agricultural land uses are completely safe, and prohibition of agricultural land use would be an unnecessary measure with negative consequences on economic development and preservation of cultural landscape of polluted areas. In the project, data implying connection between total content of dangerous substances, their plant available forms and content in various agricultural soils, fodder, and food produces from animal sources (milk, meat). Based on the soil pollution data, and data on the agricultural land use and practices on the polluted areas, suitable case studies will be selected (Celje, Mežica, Idrija, Litija), and farms, where above described connections will be studied and examined. For determination of bioavailability of potentially dangerous substances from the soil, soils with different characteristics and pollution level will be selected. Dangerous elements content in food of plant and animal sources will be analyzed. Human intake of potentially dangerous substances, consumed by food, produced on polluted areas, will be calculated. Based on the project results the suitability of the proposed standards for soil quality of agricultural land will be tested, and a proposal for the standards for content of plant available potentially dangerous elements in the soil will prepared.
Significance for science
Results of this research will contribute to understanding the transfer of potentially toxic elements to the plants. Most research on plant uptake of potentially dangerous substances from soil occurs in controlled environment, with the use of nutrient solution or artificially contaminated soils, thus including only partial plant phases. Under such conditions bio-availability of the elements and plant uptake are substantially higher that under real conditions (field experiments on polluted areas), therefore such studies cannot always be useful, or representative, for assessment of plant uptake of metals from the soils on the areas with long term pollution. Even though higher variability is characteristic for plant and soil samples from polluted open environment, the results can be used for modelling predictions, if sufficient sampling points are available. We believe that project result will substantially contribute to development of models for prediction of plant uptake of dangerous elements from the soil.
Significance for the country
Agriculture is one of the most important economic sectors, which ensures not only food production, but also sustainable use of natural resources, rural development and preservation of cultural landscape. Soil pollution can be one of the key restrictions for agricultural land use with long term consequences on development of polluted areas. Soil quality standards should regulate soil and land use for safe food production, while – at the same time – enable preservation of cultural landscape. Evaluation of in the new Decree suggested soil quality standards, and introducing standards for plant available forms of dangerous metals in the soil will substantially improve planning of agricultural practices on polluted areas.
Most important scientific results Final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2016, final report
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