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Stabilization of tannery sludge amended soil using Ricinus communis, Brassica juncea and Nerium oleander

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Characterization of tannery sludge (TS) for its plausible use in amelioration and phytoremediation of heavy metal rich TS treated soil by growing economically important plants (Ricinus communis, Brassica juncea and Nerium oleander).

Materials and methods

Treatments were prepared by amalgamation of TS (0, 5, 10, 20, 30, 50, 75, 100 %) with garden soil (GS). All treatments were analysed for chemical properties, total and DTPA (Diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid) extractable heavy metals (Cr, Pb, Cu, and Mn). Seed germination experiment was conducted; unvarying saplings were selected and planted in concerned pots and allowed to grow for 90 days in green house. At harvest, plant samples were washed with distilled water and used for determination of growth parameters (biomass of root, shoot and total biomass on dry weight basis) and metal accumulation in different parts of the plant. Translocation factor (TF) and bioconcentration factor (BCF) have been calculated to check the phytostabilization capability of studied plants.

Results and discussion

Application of TS in fixed quantity as an amendment resulted in significant improvements of GS characteristics (alkaline pH with high electrical conductivity, organic carbon, available NPK and heavy metals) and in treatments. DTPA extractable heavy metal concentrations were found very low and total heavy metal concentrations were also found under allowable range in control and treated soil (T-I to T-VI). The maximum seed germination percentage, plant growth, biomass production for all plant species were observed in T-III treatment (20 % TS + 80 % GS) with majority of the metal accumulation in underground part (BCF >1) and meagre translocation in aerial part (TF <1). From T-IV to T-VII treatment, accumulation of heavy metals in plant parts has generally increased; however, biomass has been tremendously decreased.


TS was found rich in NPK content with significant concentration of heavy metals. Pot growth experiment suggested amelioration of GS with specific quantity of 20 % TS can tremendously enhance the plant growth, help in the utilization of TS and can act as a substitute of synthetic fertilizer. Majority of the metals was accumulated in root part (BCF >1) and meagre translocation (TF <1) in aerial part, concludes R. communis and B. juncea could be suitable plant species to be grown in heavy metal rich TS treated soil, vis-à-vis for phytostabilization of heavy metals. In addition, these oil yielding and medicinal plants can also be used for phytoremediation of moderately contaminated tannery soils.

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The authors are thankful to Dr. NC Upadhyay, Principal Scientist, Soil Science Department, Central Potato Research Institute, Modipuram, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India, for providing laboratory facilities. Thanks are due to Department of Botany, Meerut College, Meerut, India. Thanks are due to Ural Federal University, Ekaterinburg, Russia, supported by Act 211 Government of the Russian Federation, agreement no. 2.A03.21.0006.

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Correspondence to Adarsh Kumar.

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Responsible editor: Jaume Bech

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Rani, P., Kumar, A. & Arya, R.C. Stabilization of tannery sludge amended soil using Ricinus communis, Brassica juncea and Nerium oleander . J Soils Sediments 17, 1449–1458 (2017).

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  • Phytostabilization
  • DTPA-extractable heavy metal
  • Translocation factor
  • Bioconcentration factor
  • Heavy metal
  • Seed germination