Heavy metal distribution and uptake by maize in a mudflat soil amended by vermicompost derived from sewage sludge.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Sewage sludge has been regarded as an economic and efficient soil amendment for mudflat soil amendment despite of the concern of heavy metal contamination. Converting sewage sludge into vermicompost by earthworms may be effective to minimize the risk of heavy metal contamination caused by direct application of sewage sludge in mudflat soil. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of vermicompost amendment (VA), and its influence on heavy metal contamination compared with sewage sludge amendment (SSA) in mudflat soil. The results showed that VA improved the physicochemical properties of mudflat soil by decreasing soil bulk density, salinity, and pH, increasing soil organic carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus contents in the soil. Consequently, the maize biomass and yield were significantly elevated by VA. For heavy metals, VA increased total Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn concentrations in mudflat soil, and the maximum increments occurred at 250 t ha-1 . Available Cd, Cu, Mn, Ni, and Zn concentrations significantly increased with increasing VA rates. VA increased the accumulation of Cd, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn in maize tissues, especially in root of maize. Compared with SSA under the condition of maintaining equal carbon input, VA allowed heavy metals to accumulate in a more stable binding form in the top 20-cm layer of mudflat soil. Thus, the risk of runoff and leaching of heavy metals and their bioavailability to plants reduced in mudflat soil. As a result, VA decreased the accumulation of heavy metals in maize plant compared with SSA in mudflat soil. In summary, vermicompost can be an effective and safe substitute for sewage sludge for mudflat amendment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Zuo, W; Xu, K; Zhang, W; Wang, Y; Gu, C; Bai, Y; Shan, Y; Dai, Q

Published Date

  • October 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 29

Start / End Page

  • 30154 - 30166

PubMed ID

  • 31422536

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1614-7499

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0944-1344

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s11356-019-06184-w


  • eng