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Long-term soil accumulation of potentially toxic elements and selected organic pollutants through application of recycled phosphorus fertilizers for organic farming conditions

Weissengruber, Lina, Möller, Kurt, Puschenreiter, Markus, Friedel, JürgenK.
Nutrient cycling in agroecosystems 2018 v.110 no.3 pp. 427-449
agricultural soils, atmospheric deposition, biosolids, cadmium, catering, chromium, composts, copper, fertilizer application, half life, leaching, lead, liming, magnesium ammonium phosphate, meat and bone meal, nickel, organic production, persistent organic pollutants, phosphorus, phosphorus fertilizers, polychlorinated biphenyls, polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, risk, soil pH, toxic substances, wastes, zinc
The pollutant input and the risk of contamination by long-term application of recycled P fertilizers (RPFs) in European agricultural soils were estimated by a mass balance approach. Calculations based on literature data were carried out for the potentially toxic elements (PTEs) Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn and for the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) PCBs, PAHs and polychlorinated dibenzo-dioxins and -furans. The PTE accumulation estimation during 200 years of fertilizer application, equivalent to 11 kg P ha⁻¹ year⁻¹, the mean P export via harvested products on European stockless organic farms, regarded soil background concentrations and proposed threshold concentrations. For PTEs, inputs were fertilizer application, atmospheric deposition and liming, output processes were leaching and crop harvest. The effect of varying site conditions was assessed by considering two precipitation excess (F) values and two soil pH values. For POPs, fertilizer application and the half-life time were considered. The PTE accumulation risk was low for most RPFs. For the analysed POPs no accumulation was found. The highest accumulation was found for all PTEs at pH 7 and F = 0.1 m year⁻¹, the lowest at pH 5 and F = 0.3 m year⁻¹. A high P concentration in fertilizers resulted in a low PTE flow per unit of P. Composts had the highest PTE accumulation risk due to lowest P contents. Struvite, meat and bone meal, digestate of catering waste, ash and biosolids would be better suited as P fertilizers. The use of fertilizers should be regulated based on their pollutant-to-nutrient ratio.