Use of soil enzymes as indicators for contaminated soil monitoring and sustainable management

Sang Hwan Lee, Min Suk Kim, Jeong Gyu Kim, Soon Oh Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Diagnosis of the risk of soil pollution and the performance of measures for the recovery of contaminated soil requires proper monitoring of the extent of soil function damage and its recovery process. Soil enzymes reveal ecosystem perturbations, are sensitive to management choices, and have been used as indicators of biogeochemical cycles, organic matter degradation, and soil remediation processes. Thus, enzymes can indicate, along with other physical or chemical properties, soil quality. In this paper, we review the effects of soil pollutants [toxic trace elements (TTE), and petroleum hydrocarbons (PHC)] on enzymatic activities and evaluate the usefulness of soil enzyme's activity for monitoring recovery processes in contaminated soil. Soil enzymes can be said to be a powerful means of monitoring to properly indicate the degree of deterioration of soil quality caused by soil pollution and to diagnose the process of functional recovery of contaminated soil. Further research is needed to establish the quantitative relationships between the soil physico-chemical properties and enzyme activity and the effect of soil remediation on the functional recovery of soil-related to soil quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8209
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by Korean Environment Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) through "Subsurface Environment Management (SEM) Projects," funded by Korea Ministry of Environment (RE202002041).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors.


  • Monitoring indicators
  • Soil contamination
  • Soil enzyme
  • Soil quality
  • Sustainable remediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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