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Effect of Compost and Biochar on Heavy Metals Phytostabilization by the Halophytic Plant Old Man Saltbush [Atriplex Nummularia Lindl]

Eissa, Mamdouh A.
Soil & sediment contamination 2019 v.28 no.2 pp. 135-147
Atriplex nummularia, aerial parts, biochar, biomass, cadmium, composts, copper, ecosystems, halophytes, heavy metals, lead, phytoremediation, polluted soils, roots, shoots, zinc
Remediation of soils is vital to mitigate the negative effects of heavy metals in ecosystems. There is little information available about the metals’ phytostabilization potential of old man saltbush plants [Atriplex nummularia]. A pot experiment in a randomized complete block design was conducted to study the accumulation of heavy metals by old man saltbush plants, as affected by the application of compost and biochar. The cultivation of A. nummularia is an effective tool in immobilizing metals in the contaminated soils. The cultivation of metal-contaminated soil with A. nummularia reduced the availability of Zn, Cu, Cd, and Pb by 20%, 4%, 21%, and 28%, respectively, in comparison to the non-cultivated soil. Zn, Cu, Cd, and Pb concentrations in the aboveground parts of old man saltbush plants were 70–100, 50–80, 4–5, and 50–90 mg/kg of dry biomass. The higher Zn, Cu, Cd, and Pb concentrations were accumulated in the roots, and the lower concentrations were transferred to the shoots of old man saltbush plants. Compost reduced the concentration of Zn, Cu, Cd, and Pb in the shoots by 10%, 19%, 20%, and 6%, respectively, compared to the control soil. Biochar reduced the concentrations of Zn, Cu, and Pb in the shoots by 30%, 38%, and 44%, respectively, compared to the control. Compost had a lower effect in reducing the metals uptake as biochar. Biochar reduced the uptake of Zn, Cu, and Pb in the shoots of the tested plant by 22%, 23%, and 41%, respectively, in comparison to compost. Based on the obtained results, old man saltbush has good characteristics to be a promising candidate for phytostabilization strategies of metal-contaminated soils. Moreover, biochar is a good tool to enhance metals’ phytostablization.