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Summary

We determined concentrations of Ag, In, Sn, Sb and Bi, and fractionated them by sequential extraction procedures, in five Japanese soils: Andosol-1 (grassland), Andosol-2 (forest), Cambisol (forest), Fluvisol (vegetable garden) and Regosol (forest). Average concentrations of Ag, In, Sn, Sb and Bi were 0.17 ± 0.08, 0.081 ± 0.019, 2.2 ± 0.5, 0.83 ± 0.32 and 0.32 ± 0.12 mg kg−1, respectively. Average distributions of the chemical fractions (omitting those with an abundance < 5%) were: Ag, residual (60%) > H2O2-extractable, organically bound (H2O2-Org) (18%) > metal–organic complex-bound (Me-Org) (10%) > amorphous metal oxide-bound (am-MeOx) (8.3%); In, residual (61%) > H2O2-Org (12%) > Me-Org (8.7%) ≥ crystalline Fe oxide-bound (cr-FeOx) (8.2%) > am-MeOx (7.4%); Sn, residual (40%) > Me-Org (19%) > carbonate-bound (12%) > cr-FeOx (9.0%) > H2O2-Org (7.8%) > am-MeOx (6.9%); Sb, residual (34%) > Me-Org (18%) > am-MeOx (16%) > cr-FeOx (8.9%) ≥ H2O2-Org (8.7%) > easily reducible metal oxide-bound (re-MeOx) (6.8%) > carbonate-bound (6.1%); Bi, am-MeOx (26%) ≥ H2O2-Org (26%) > Me-Org (19%) > residual (17%) > cr-FeOx (12%). Proportions of the mobilizable (exchangeable + carbonate-bound + Me-Org + re-MeOx) metal fractions were in the order Sn ≥ Sb > Bi > Ag ? In, and Cambisol > Andosol-2 > Regosol > Andosol-1 > Fluvisol. The proportions were predicted by multiple regression equations including pH, surface area, C contents, cation exchange capacity and clay content of the soils as independent variables (R2 > 0.96, P < 0.02).