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Influence of time on the plant availability of Cd, Ni and Zn after sewage sludge has been applied to soils

Antoniadis, V. and Alloway, B. J. (2003) Influence of time on the plant availability of Cd, Ni and Zn after sewage sludge has been applied to soils. Agrochimica, 47 (3-4). pp. 81-93. ISSN 0002-1857

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A pot experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that decomposition of organic matter in sewage sludge and the consequent formation of dissolved organic compounds (DOC) would lead to an increase in the bioavailability of the heavy metals. Two Brown Earth soils, one with clayey loam texture (CL) and the other a loamy sand (LS) were mixed with sewage sludge at rates equivalent to 0, 10 and 50 1 dry sludge ha(-1) and the pots were sown with ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.). The organic matter content and heavy metal availability assessed with soil extractions with 0.05 M CaCl2 were monitored over a residual time of two years, while plant uptake over one year, after addition of the sludge. It was found that the concentrations of Cd and Ni in both the ryegrass and the soil extracts increased slightly but significantly during the first year. In most cases, this increase was most evident especially at the higher sludge application rate (50 t ha(-1)). However, in the second year metal availability reached a plateau. Zinc concentrations in the ryegrass did not show an increase but the CaCl2 extracts increased during the first year. In contrast, organic matter content decreased rapidly in the first months of the first year and much more slowly in the second (total decrease of 16%). The concentrations of DOC increased significantly in the more organic rich CL soil in the course of two years. The pattern followed by the decomposition of organic matter with time and the production of DOC may provide at least a partial explanation for trend towards increased metal availability.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:3199
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