• Copper;
  • Nickel;
  • Soil;
  • Phytotoxicity;
  • Risk assessment


The toxicity of copper (Cu) and nickel (Ni) to bok choy and tomato shoot growth was investigated in a wide range of Chinese soils with and without leaching with artificial rainwater. The results showed that the variations of Ni toxicity induced by soil properties were wider than those of Cu toxicity to both tomato and bok choy plant growth. Leaching generally decreased the toxicity of Cu and Ni added to soils, which also depended on soils, metals, and test plant species. Soil factors controlling metal phytotoxicity were found to be soil pH and soil organic carbon content for Cu, and soil pH for Ni. It was also found that soil pH had stronger effects on Ni toxicity than on Cu toxicity. Predictive toxicity models based on these soil factors were developed. These toxicity models for Cu and Ni toxicity to tomato plant growth were validated using an independent data set for European soils. These models could be applied to predict the Cu and Ni phytotoxicity in not only Chinese soils but also European soils. Environ Toxicol Chem 2013;32:2372–2378. © 2013 SETAC