Effect of dissolved organic matter from sludge and sludge compost on soil copper sorption

L. X. Zhou, Jonathan W C WONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

168 Citations (Scopus)


Interaction of Cu with dissolved organic matter (DOM) is an important physicochemical process affecting Cu mobility in soils. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of DOM from anaerobically digested dewatered sludge and sludge compost on the sorption of Cu on an acidic sandy loam and a calcareous clay loam. In the presence of DOM, Cu sorption capacity decreased markedly for both soils, especially for the calcareous soil. The Cu sorption isotherms could be well described by the Freundlich equation (r2 = 0.99), and the binding intensity parameter of soils in the presence of sludge DOM was lower than compost DOM. An increase in DOM concentration significantly reduced the sorption of Cu by both soils. Within the Cu and DOM concentration range studied, the decrease in Cu sorption caused by sludge DOM was consistently greater than that of compost DOM. This might be attributed to the greater amount of hydrophobic fraction of DOM in the compost. Moreover, the reduction of Cu sorption caused by DOM was more obvious in the soil with higher pH. In addition, the sorption of Cu increased with an increase in pH for both soils without the addition of DOM, while Cu sorption in the presence of DOM was unexpectedly decreased with an increase in pH at a pH >6.8. This implied that DOM produced by sludge or other C-enriched organic wastes heavily applied on calcareous soils might facilitate the leaching loss of Cu because of the formation of soluble DOM-metal complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-883
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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