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Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo
Print version ISSN 0100-0683
PAYE, Henrique de Sá; MELLO, Jaime Wilson Vargas de and MELO, Stefeson Bezerra de. Multivariate analysis methods for the establishment of background levels of trace elements in soils of Brazil. Rev. Bras. Ciênc. Solo [online]. 2012, vol.36, n.3, pp. 1031-1042. ISSN 0100-0683. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-06832012000300033.
The distribution of natural levels of trace elements in soils is rather variable. Therefore, the determination of background levels (BLs), based on averages or global intervals of concentration, are mostly unsuitable. This study proposed to establish BLs based on soils with similar properties, grouped by chemical and physical properties based on Pearson's correlation analysis, factor analysis (FA), cluster analysis (CA), and discriminate analysis (DA). The Pearson correlation analysis and factor analysis showed that the variables soil Fe, Mn, Ti, silt + clay and organic carbon (OC) are important for the distribution of trace elements in soils. The cluster analysis allowed the formation of four soil groups, reduced the variability in trace element levels in soils by forming more homogeneous groups, and also showed the relation of different soils within the same group with soil genesis and the parental material. The BLs determined from the soil groups were generally lower than when using all soils together, with narrower range between the percentiles of 90 and 75 %.
Keywords : potentially toxic elements; cluster analysis; natural concentration of trace elements in soil.