Metal toxicity assessment in soils using enzymatic activity: Can water be used as a surrogate buffer?

30 November 2012

ARTICLE PUBLISHED in "Soil Biology and Biochemistry"

Ecotoxicological tests based on soil enzyme activity are widely used to assess the terrestrial ecotoxicology of metals in soils. However, several standard enzymatic methods use buffers that may alter the chemical pseudoequilibrium of soils and affect metal speciation, and, in turn, the metal effects on enzymes and enzyme kinetics. Researchers have suggested the use of H2O as a solvent rather than chemical buffers, but opponents are concerned about pH fluctuations during incubation and the resulting difficulty in comparing enzymatic studies.