An experimental study on using rare earth elements to trace phosphorous losses from nonpoint sources

Chemosphere. 2011 Oct;85(6):1075-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.07.038. Epub 2011 Aug 25.


Controlling phosphorous (P) inputs through management of its sources and transport is critical for limiting freshwater eutrophication. In this study, characteristics of exogenous rare earth elements (REEs) and P and their losses with surface runoff (both in the water and sediments) during simulated rainfall experiments (83 mm h⁻¹) were investigated. The results revealed that on average most REEs (La, 94%; Nd, 93%; Sm, 96%) and P (96%) transported with sediments in the runoff. The total amounts of losses of REEs and P in the runoff were significantly correlated, suggesting the possibility of using REEs to trace the fate of agricultural nonpoint P losses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Environmental Pollutants / chemistry*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry
  • Laboratories
  • Metals, Rare Earth / chemistry*
  • Phosphorus / chemistry*
  • Solubility
  • Water / chemistry


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Metals, Rare Earth
  • Water
  • Phosphorus