Sewage sludge as an initial fertility driver for rapid improvement of mudflat salt-soils.
Sewage sludge is by-product in the process of centralized wastewater treatment. Land application of sewage sludge is one of the important disposal alternatives. Mudflats in the interaction zone between land and sea can be important alternative sources for arable lands if amended by large amount of organic fertilizers. Rich in organic matter and other nutrients, sewage sludge has been considered as the economic choice for an initial fertility driver. However, sewage sludge amendment has been greatly hampered due to availability of potential toxic metals. Using sewage sludge in compliance with the national standards for agricultural usage could avoid the accumulation of heavy metals. Nevertheless, it is not clear whether massive input of sewage sludge would increase heavy metals concentration in crops. The objective of this study was to investigate impact of sewage sludge amendment (SSA) as an initial fertility driver by one-time input, with the rates of 0, 30, 75, 150, and 300tha-1
, on biomass of green manures, soil chemical properties, and growth and heavy metals uptake of maize (Zea mays L.) grown in mudflat soil. Results showed that one-time sewage sludge amendment promoted an initial fertility for infertile mudflat soil, supported growth of ryegrass as the first season green manure. By tilled ryegrass, it modified the chemical properties of mudflat soil by increasing soil organic carbon, total and available N and P, and decreasing soil salinity and pH, which promoted subsequent growth of two green manures for sesbania and ryegrass. The sewage sludge as an initial fertility driver combined with planting and tilling green manures, increased dry matter of the aerial part and grain yield of maize grown in mudflat soil. Cd and Ni concentrations in grain of maize were positively correlated with sewage sludge amendment rates. Importantly, heavy metal concentrations in grain of maize at all SSA rates did not exceed the safety standard for food in China (GB 2762-2012). The study suggests that sewage sludge can be applied as an initial fertility driver for mudflat soil amendment, which provides an innovative solution for arable land resources and solid waste disposal.
Bai, Y; Zang, C; Gu, M; Gu, C; Shao, H; Guan, Y; Wang, X; Zhou, X; Shan, Y; Feng, K
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