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Assessment of the feasibility of using CCA (copper, chromium and arsenic) - treated and boric acid - treated sawdust as soil amendments

I. Plant growth and element uptake

Abstract

A pot trial was conducted to determine the effects, on plant growth and element uptake, of soil amendment with Cu- Cr- and As-(CCA) treated, or boric-treated sawdust. Three indicator plants (beetroot, white clover, lettuce) were chosen and the trial was carried out at both soil pH 5 and pH 7. Comparisons were made with an untreated sawdust amendment and with a non-sawdust control.

Amendment with 10% treated-sawdust (v/v) increased soil concentrations of Cu, Cr, As and B, by 45, 136, 63 and 32 mg kg-1, respectively. Much of the Cu and B was extractable using standard soil extractants, but extract concentrations of Cr and As were below detection limits.

Seeds germinated in all pots, but the boric treatment subsequently proved unsatisfactory as a growth medium for all plants except beetroot grown at pH 7. The CCA treatment had no negative effect on any of the plants at either pH, but yield depression occurred with untreated sawdust. This was attributed to nutrient immobilization by the decomposing untreated sawdust.

Plant roots, especially beetroot fibrous roots, in the CCA treatment, concentrated Cu, Cr and As to high levels. Uptake of these elements was generally higher at pH 5 than at pH 7. However, the above-ground parts of the plants, and the beetroot bulbs, i.e. the normal edible parts, had very much lower concentrations. Although Cu was concentrated to some extent in beetroot and clover, the concentrations were below animal toxicity levels, especially at the higher soil pH. B, in contrast, was concentrated in the above-ground portions of the plants, in preference to the roots.

These treatments had no important effects on the uptake of major and minor nutrient elements by the plants.

Clover nitrogen-fixation was not adversely affected by the CCA treatment, but was totally absent in the boric treatment.

These rerults are discussed, and the need to conduct tests on a wider range of edible plants before concluding that amendment with CCA-treated sawdust may be acceptable, is stressed.

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Speir, T.W., August, J.A. & Feltham, C.W. Assessment of the feasibility of using CCA (copper, chromium and arsenic) - treated and boric acid - treated sawdust as soil amendments. Plant Soil 142, 235–248 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00010969

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00010969

Key words

  • arsenic
  • boron
  • chronium
  • copper
  • heavy metals
  • N-fixation
  • plant availability/growth/uptake
  • roots
  • sawdust
  • soil pH
  • tops
  • yield