Main content area

Chemical Stabilization of Metal-Contaminated Mine Soil: Early Short-Term Soil-Amendment Interactions and Their Effects on Biological and Chemical Parameters

Galende, M. A., Becerril, J. M., Gómez-Sagasti, M. T., Barrutia, O., Epelde, L., Garbisu, C., Hernández, A.
Water, air, and soil pollution 2014 v.225 no.2 pp. 1863
bioavailability, cadmium, cows, functional diversity, lead, lettuce, microbial communities, organic matter, paper, phytotoxicity, polluted soils, poultry, poultry manure, pulp and paper sludge, root growth, sheep manure, soil amendments, soil pH, soil quality, zinc
Chemical stabilization is a cost-effective, environmentally friendly, in situ remediation technology based on the application of organic and/or inorganic amendments to reduce soil metal bioavailability. Our objective was to assess the early short-term effects of organic amendments (sheep manure—SHEEP, poultry litter—POULTRY, cow slurry—COW, paper mill sludge mixed with poultry litter—PAPER), in sterilized and non-sterilized form, on the microbial and chemical properties, as well as on the phytotoxicity, of a Cd, Pb and Zn contaminated soil. Our results provide useful information regarding (1) the effectiveness of amendments for chemical stabilization of mine soil and (2) the impact of microbial populations present in the amendments on soil native microbial communities. Microbial populations present in the amendments did not substantially modify soil microbial functional diversity, as reflected by Biolog EcoPlates™ data, except for PAPER-amended soils. We observed a good correlation between lettuce root elongation (phytotoxicity bioassay) and Cd, Pb, and Zn CaCl₂-extractable concentrations in soil. SHEEP and PAPER amendments were particularly effective at increasing soil pH and reducing metal bioavailability and phytotoxicity, while POULTRY and COW led to higher values of soil microbial properties (respiration and functional diversity). Beneficial effects observed under POULTRY at the beginning of the experiment, due to the presence of easily degradable organic matter, were partially lost over time. Our results emphasize the importance of the early monitoring of soil properties (microbial and chemical) and phytotoxicity to properly identify bottlenecks during amendment selection for chemical stabilization, in terms of reduction in metal bioavailability and improvement in soil health.