Trace element concentrations in soil, corn leaves, and grain after cessation of biosolids applications.J Environ Qual 2004 Nov-Dec; 33(6):2078-89JE
From 1974 to 1984, 543 Mg ha(-1) of biosolids were applied to portions of a land-reclamation site in Fulton County, IL. Soil organic C increased to 5.1% then decreased significantly (p < 0.01) to 3.8% following cessation of biosolids applications (1985-1997). Metal concentrations in amended soils (1995-1997) were not significantly different (p > 0.05) (Ni and Zn) or were significantly lower (p < 0.05) (6.4% for Cd and 8.4% for Cu) than concentrations from 1985-1987. For the same biosolids-amended fields, metal concentrations in corn (Zea mays L.) either remained the same (p > 0.05, grain Cu and Zn) or decreased (p < 0.05, grain Cd and Ni, leaf Cd, Cu, Ni, Zn) for plants grown in 1995-1997 compared with plants grown immediately following termination of biosolids applications (1985-1987). Biosolids application increased (p < 0.05) Cd and Zn concentrations in grain compared with unamended fields (0.01 to 0.10 mg kg(-1) for Cd and 23 to 28 mg kg(-1) for Zn) but had no effect (p > 0.05) on grain Ni concentrations. Biosolids reduced (p < 0.05) Cu concentration in grain compared with grain from unamended fields (1.9 to 1.5 mg kg(-1)). Biosolids increased (p < 0.05) Cd, Ni, and Zn concentrations in leaves compared with unamended fields (0.3 to 5.6 mg kg(-1) for Cd, 0.2 to 0.5 mg kg(-1) for Ni, and 32 to 87 mg kg(-1) for Zn), but had no significant effect (p > 0.05) on leaf Cu concentrations. Based on results from this field study, USEPA's Part 503 risk model overpredicted transfer of these metals from biosolids-amended soil to corn.