Metal Mixtures – Data for Field-Relevant Soil Quality Criteria to Protect Plant Health


Environmental quality criteria (EQCs) for soils are not designed to protect ecosystems from multiple contaminants that co-occur. EQCs are overwhelmingly based on dose-response studies of single contaminants, and lack mechanisms for scaling EQCs to accurately predict metal mixtures toxicity. The inability to predict risk for metal mixtures in soils at Canada's many current and legacy extractive mining sites, as well as federally managed contaminated sites, is a high priority for base metal mining companies (e.g. Vale), as well as for Environment and Health Canada. The Biotic Ligand Model (BLM) is being used to evaluate toxicity of metals mixtures to aquatic organisms; however, its application to soils, for predicting even single metal toxicity to plants, has been of limited success. The objectives of the proposed research are to develop a BLM-type framework for predicting actual dose of soil metals mixtures to plants, and validate those models with accumulation and toxicity studies of Environment Canada's preferred test plant species.


Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Beverley Hale


Yamini Gopalapillai



Environmental sciences


Mining and quarrying


University of Guelph



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