The growth of Agropyron elongatum in an artificial soil mix from coal fly ash and sewage sludge

Jonathan W C WONG*, D. C. Su

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


A greenhouse experiment was performed to evaluate the feasibility of using an artificial soil medium produced from alkaline coal fly ash and sewage sludge for the growth of Agropyron elongatum (tall wheat grass). Sludge was amended with ash at an application rate of 0, 5, 10, 35 and 50% (w/w). Each mixture was then mixed with a loamy soil at either 1:1 or 1:5 (v/v) and incubated under greenhouse conditions for 3 weeks prior to plant growth experiment. Addition of the ash-sludge mixture significantly improved the seedling emergence and dry weight yields of Agropyron. Pots with 10% ash-sludge mixture at 1:5 v/v soil mixing ratio had the highest yield, while those with 10 and 35% ash-sludge amendment at 1:1 v/v soil mixing ratio had lower dry weight yields but were still higher than that of the control with fertilizer treatment No deficiency in N and P was noted for the ash-sludge amended pots at both 1:1 and 1:5. Shoot tissue Ca, Mg and B concentrations increased while K, Fe, Mn and Zn decreased with an increase in ash amendment rate. The root tissue Fe, Mn, Cu and Zn contents were significantly higher than those of the shoot tissue. Hence, no excessive accumulation of heavy metals was noted owing to the ash-sludge amendment. The increased yield even at a high amendment rate of 35% ash-sludge mixture at 1:1 v/v soil mixing ratio indicates the potential use of the ash-sludge mixture as an artificial soil mix for agricultural use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1997

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal

User-Defined Keywords

  • Agropyron
  • Artificial soil
  • Boron
  • Coal fly ash
  • Organic waste
  • Sewage sludge
  • Sludge stabilization


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