Stabilization of Heavy Metals in Mining Site Soil with Silica Extracted from Corn Cob

Jaehong Shim, Patrick J. Shea, Byung Taek Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Corn cob silica (CCS), produced via a modification of the sol-gel method, can reduce heavy metal availability and stabilize contaminated soil on abandoned mining sites. Adding 5 % (w/w) CCS to mining site soil increased pH from 4.0 to 7.7, and cation exchange capacity increased from 94.5 to 100.3 cmol+/kg. Sequential extraction showed that adding CCS decreased heavy metal availability in the soil. Mobility factor (MF) values indicated that CCS reduced Pb mobility more than that of Zn or Cu in all fractions. Pb concentrations in leachate from all fractions using the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) were greatly decreased by adding 3 % (w/w) CCS. CCS similarly reduced Zn concentrations in TCLP leachate. CCS addition did not impact Cu concentrations in leachate, likely because concentrations were much lower than those of the other metals. As was generally less mobile than the heavy metals; however, As mobility and leachability tended to increase with CCS addition because its oxyanions arsenite and arsenate have low affinity for negatively charged surfaces on the CCS. Shoot and root growth of Spinacia oleracea L. (spinach) was much greater in CCS-treated soil than in unamended soil. Results demonstrate the utility of CCS to stabilize heavy metals in contaminated mining site soil, but this treatment may not be ideal for As-contaminated soils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2152
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2014


  • Contaminated mine soil
  • Corn cob silica (CCS)
  • Heavy metals
  • Metal availability
  • Spinacia oleracea L.
  • Stabilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution

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