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Cobalt speciation and phytoavailability in fluvo-aquic soil under treatments of spent mushroom substrate from Pleurotus ostreatus

Liu, Borui, Huang, Qing, Su, Yuefeng, Xue, Qianhui, Sun, Liuye
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.8 pp. 7486-7496
Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis, Pleurotus ostreatus, adsorption, biomass, chemical structure, cobalt, crops, heavy metals, humans, pollutants, polluted soils, risk, soil microorganisms, spent mushroom compost
Cobalt (Co) is a nutrient for soil microorganisms and crops, as well as a worldwide industrial pollutant. When the level of Co exceeds the acceptable limit, this heavy metal can lead to devastating consequences for soil environments. There is considerable attention and concern about elevated levels of Co contaminating soil and crops. Spent mushroom substrate (SMS) is a potential amendment for the adsorption of pollutants, which has potential for resolving Co-polluted soil that spans the world. To investigate the environmental behavior and risks associated with Co in fluvo-aquic soil under specific treatments of SMS from Pleurotus ostreatus, a lab-scale pot experiment was conducted. SMS and exogenous Co were added to soil, which was retained for approximately 30 days. Pakchois (Brassica chinensis L.) were planted in the treated soil for 28 days until harvest. The Co speciation in soil (modified BCR sequential extraction) and Co accumulation in pakchoi tissue were studied. When the SMS concentration was within a range of 0 to 9 g kg⁻¹ (total amount = 0 to 2.7 g), Co in the acid-soluble fraction was transformed to the oxidizable fraction in soil, resulting from the mesh structure on the surface of SMS, as well as the amide and carboxyl in the SMS molecular structure. In this situation, the Co accumulation levels in the pakchois decreased significantly (P < 0.05), indicating the efficacy of SMS for reducing Co phytoavailability. However, when the SMS concentration reached 12 g kg⁻¹, the phytoavailability increased again (P < 0.05). When the SMS concentration ranged from 8.86 to 9.51 g kg⁻¹, the Co phytoavailability in soil reached a minimum, while the biomass of pakchoi reached a maximum. Conclusively, SMS from Pleurotus ostreatus are effective for reducing the Co phytoavailability, as well as for reducing the chance of Co transferring into a human’s body through crops (i.e., food consumption). In order to achieve the optimum efficacy, the SMS concentration in soil should be maintained at a range of 8.86 to 9.51 g kg⁻¹.