Bioavailability and plant accumulation of heavy metals and phosphorus in agricultural soils amended by long-term application of sewage sludge.Chemosphere 2007; 66(8):1458-67C
Amendment of agricultural soils with municipal sewage sludges provides a valuable source of plant nutrients and organic matter. Nevertheless, addition of heavy metals and risks of eutrophication continue to be of concern. Metal behaviour in soils and plant uptake are dependent on the nature of the metal, sludge/soil physico-chemical properties and plant species. A pot experiment was carried out to evaluate plant production and heavy metal uptake, soil heavy metal pools and bioavailability, and soil P pools and possible leaching losses, in agricultural soils amended with sewage sludge for at least 10 years (F20) compared to non-amended soils (control). Sewage sludge application increased soil pH, N, Olsen-extractable-P, DOC and exchangeable Ca, Mg and K concentrations. Total and EDTA-extractable soil concentrations of Cu and Zn were also significantly greater in F20, and soil metal (Cu, Mn and Zn) and P fractionation altered. Compared to the control, in F20 relative amounts of acid-extractable (Mn, Zn), reducible (Mn, Zn) and oxidisable (Cu, Zn) metal fractions were greater, and a dominance of inorganic P forms was observed. Analyses of F20 soil solutions highlighted risks of PO4 and Cu leaching. However, despite the observed increases in metal bioavailability sewage sludge applications did not lead to an increase in plant shoot concentrations (in wild plants or crop species). On the contrary, depending on the plant species, Mn and Zn tissue concentrations were within the deficiency level for most plants.