Cadmium, copper, nickel, and zinc availability in a biosolids-amended piedmont soil years after application.J Environ Qual 2005 Nov-Dec; 34(6):2255-62JE
Concerns over the possible increase in phytoavailability of biosolids-applied trace metals to plants have been raised based on the assumption that decomposition of applied organic matter would increase phytoavailability. The objectives of this study were to assess the effect of time on chemical extractability and concentration of Cd, Cu, Ni, and Zn in plants on plots established by a single application of biosolids with high trace metals content in 1984. Biosolids were applied to 1.5 by 2.3 m confined plots of a Davidson clay loam (clayey, kaolinitic, thermic Rhodic Kandiudults) at 0, 42, 84, 126, 168, and 210 Mg ha(-1). The highest biosolids application supplied 4.5, 760, 43, and 620 kg ha(-1) of Cd, Cu, Ni, and Zn, respectively. Radish (Raphanus sativus L.), romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. longifolia), and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) were planted at the site for 3 consecutive years, 17 to 19 yr after biosolids application. Extractable Cd, Cu, Ni, and Zn (as measured by DTPA, CaCl(2,) and Mehlich-1) were determined on 15-cm depth samples from each plot. The DTPA-extractable Cu and Zn decreased by 58 and 42%, respectively, 17 yr after application despite a significant reduction in organic matter content. Biosolids treatments had no significant effect on crop yield. Plant tissue metal concentrations increased with biosolids rate but were within the normal range of these crops. Trace metal concentrations in plants generally correlated well with the concentrations extracted from soil with DTPA, CaCl(2), and Mehlich-1. Metal concentrations in plant tissue exhibited a plateau response in most cases. The uptake coefficient values generated for the different crops were in agreement with the values set by the Part 503 Rule.