Response of microbial activities to heavy metals in a neutral loamy soil treated with biosolid.Chemosphere. 2006 Jun; 64(1):63-70.C
Application of biosolid on land has been widespread in numerous countries for last several decades. This study performed incubation experiments by mixing a neutral loamy soil and biosolid enriched in Cu, Pb and Zn to explore how heavy metal affects soil mineralization and microbial biomass. The experimental results indicated that large nutrient, microorganism and C sources from biosolid were beneficial to microbial respiration. However, compared to the biosolid alone treatment, the supplemented Cu, Pb and Zn in biosolid reduced the mineralized C by roughly 36%. This phenomenon was probably caused by a portion of the Cu, Pb and Zn being complexed with organic matter to prevent decomposition of organic carbon by microorganisms. Equally, soil treated with biosolid increased the quantity of mineralized N by approximately five-fold and accelerated the rate of N mineralization by about one-fold compared to untreated soil. Notably, addition of heavy metals impaired the mineralization process, particularly when Pb reached about 64%. The reduced N mineralization occurred for similar reasons to the microbial respiration. The addition of biosolid in soil considerably increased the amount of mineralizable N; however, the increase was lower in biosolid-treated soil spiked by heavy metals. The addition of heavy metals in the soil-biosolid mixture clearly reduced the microbial biomasses C (MBC) and N (MBN), indicating that the microbial activities had been disrupted by the heavy metals. The microbial biomass C/N ratio had changed initially from 8 to 13 at the end of incubation period, owing to various groups of microbes expressing different mechanisms of metabolism, indicating that the microbial population had changed from bacteria to fungi, which had higher metal tolerance.