Sunday 13 March 2016

Assessing the influence of technosol and biochar amendments combined with Brassica juncea L. on the fractionation of Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in a polluted mine soil

Journal of Soils and Sediments
February 2016, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 339–348
DOI: 10.1007/s11368-015-1222-3

Soil metal pollution is a widespread problem around the world and remediation of these soils is difficult. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of two different strategies on the chemical fractions of metals in a soil of a depleted copper mine: (1) amending with a mixture of a technosol made of wastes and biochar and (2) amending combined with planting vegetation (Brassica juncea).

A 3-month greenhouse experiment was carried out to evaluate the effects of organic amendments and vegetation on the metal fractionation of Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in a mine soil of the depleted copper mine at Touro (Spain). We compared the influence of organic amendments alone (technosol + biochar) and combined with mustard plants (Brassica juncea L.).

The results showed that amending with a technosol made of wastes promoted plant growth (from 0.7 to 2.9 g of biomass produced) and reduced the CaCl2-extractable metal concentration in soil, reduced the mobility factor of Cu from 18.3 to 1.6, Ni from 47.5 to 2.3 and Pb from 17.9 to 2.1, and also reduced the concentration of metals in the mobile soil fractions. It was not possible to grow up Brassica juncea plants in the untreated settling pond soil due to the extremely degraded conditions of that soil. However, the application of the used technosol increased the Pb and Zn pseudototal concentrations in the amended soils.

We conclude that the combination of amending with wastes and planting B. juncea provides little additional benefit for remediating a metal-polluted soil compared with incorporation of wastes alone.