Growth and elemental accumulation of plants grown in acidic soil amended with coal fly ash-sewage sludge co-compost

Jonathan W C WONG, Ammaiyappan Selvam

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14 Citations (Scopus)


A greenhouse experiment was conducted to evaluate the growth and heavy-metal accumulation of Brassica chinensis and Agropyron elongatum in 10 and 25% ash-sludge co-compost (ASC)-amended loamy acidic soil (pH 4.51) at two different application rates: 20% and 40% (v/v). Soil pH increased, whereas electrical conductivity decreased with the amendment of ASC to soil. Bioavailable Cu, Zn, and Mn contents of ASC-amended soil decreased, whereas Ni, Pb, and B contents increased. Concentrations of bioavailable Cu, Zn, and Mn in sludge compost (SC)-amended soils were 5.57, 20.8, and 8.19 mg kg-1, respectively. These concentrations were significantly lower than those in soil receiving an application rate of 20 or 25% ASC as 2.64, 8.48, and 5.26 mg kg-1, respectively. Heavy metals and B contents of the composting mass significantly increased with an increase in ASC application rate from 20 to 40% (6.2 to 16.6 mg kg-1 for 10% ASC- and 9.4 to 18.6 mg kg -1 for 25% ASC-amended soil. However, when the ash content in co-compost increased from 10 to 25% during composting, bioavailable heavy-metal contents decreased. However, B contents increased with an increase in ash content. Addition of co-composts increased the dry-weight yield of the plants, and this increase was more obvious as the ash amendment rate in the co-composts and the ASC application rate increased. In case of B. chinensis, the biomass of 2.84 g/plant for 40% application of 25% ASC was significantly higher than SC (0.352 g/plant), which was 40% application of 10% ASC (0.434 g/plant) treatments. However, in A. elongatum, the differences between biomass of plants grown with 10% (1.34-1.94 g/ plant) and 25% ASC (2.12-2.21 g/plant) were not significantly different. Furthermore, there were fewer plant-available heavy metals in 25% ASC, which decreased the uptake of heavy metals by plants. ASC was favorable in increasing the growth of B. chinensis and A. elongatum. The optimal ash amendment to the sludge composting and ASC application rates were at 25 and 20%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-523
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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