Chenopodium album L. was found to be one of the initial plant species colonising a heavy metal-contaminated site, polluted by pyritic (sulphide-rich) waste from the Aznalcóllar mine spill (South-western Spain). This indicates its importance in the re-vegetation of this soil. In a pot experiment, C. album was sown in soil collected from the contaminated site, either non-amended or amended with cow manure or compost produced from olive leaves and olive mill wastewater, in order to study the effect on heavy metal bioavailability and soil pH. In non-amended and compost-amended soils, soil acidification, probably resulting from oxidation and hydrolysis of sulphide, led to increases in the concentrations of soluble sulphate and plant-available Cu, Zn and Mn in the soil (extractable with 0.1 M CaCl(2)). Under these conditions, shoot growth of C. album was negligible and shoot concentrations of Zn (2,420-5,585 microg g(-1)) and Mn (5,513-8,994 microg g(-1)) were phytotoxic. Manure application greatly increased shoot growth and reduced the shoot concentrations of Cu, Zn, and Mn, and their plant-available concentrations in the soil. These effects appeared to be related to an increase of soil pH, due to an inhibition of sulphide oxidation/hydrolysis, relative to the non-amended soil. For metal sulphides-contaminated soil, liable to acidification, manure application appears to be able to enhance the initial stages of re-vegetation, by species such as C. album.