The sorption of Cd and Zn by different soils in the presence of dissolved organic matter from sludge

Jonathan W C WONG*, K. L. Li, L. X. Zhou, Ammaiyappan Selvam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is one of the important factors affecting metal mobility and phytotoxicity in the soils receiving sewage sludge. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of DOM from anaerobically digested dewatered sludge on Cd and Zn sorption by three different soil types (calcareous clay loam, calcareous sandy loam and acidic sandy loam) of different physico-chemical properties through batch studies. The addition of DOM significantly reduced the Cd and Zn sorption capacity by a factor of 2.1-5.7 for Cd and 2.3-13.7 for Zn for these three soils as seen by their K values in the Freundlich equation compared to the control receiving no DOM, suggesting that DOM had a stronger inhibitory effect on Zn sorption than that of Cd. The reduction in metal sorption caused by DOM was very apparent in the pH range of 5 to 8, with a maximum inhibition on metal sorption occurring at pH 7-7.5 especially for Zn but the effect was minimal at lower pH. At a DOM concentration of < 200 mg C l- 1, Cd and Zn sorption by all the three soils decreased with an increase in DOM concentration. At each given DOM concentration, the inhibition of metal sorption of the different soil types increased in the following order: acidic sandy loam < calcareous sandy loam < calcareous clay loam. DOM derived from sludge would significantly reduce metal sorption and increase its mobility through the formation of soluble DOM-metal complexes and poses risk of metal leaching and phytotoxicty in near-neutral and alkaline soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-317
Number of pages8
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2007

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Soil Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Dissolved organic matter
  • Heavy metals
  • Sewage sludge
  • Sorption


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