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The suitability of growing mulberry (Morus alba L.) on soils consisting of urban sludge composted with garden waste: a new method for urban sludge disposal

Abstract

Efficient disposal of urban sewage sludge, material that typically contains high concentrations of heavy metals, has become a significant concern worldwide. The empirical purpose of the current study is to investigate physical and chemical parameters of composted sludge and garden waste at different ratios. Results reveal that nutrient content has significantly increased after the application of composts as compared to the controlled sample. Composting garden waste with sewage sludge at a 1:1 ratio promoted plant growth and gradually showed superiority in the later period. The maximum plant height, total biomass, and crown width of mulberry trees increased by 12.1, 33.5, and 45.7%, respectively, compared with the control treatment. The bound to organic matter of Hg, Cr, and Pb in the sewage sludge increased after composting with garden waste, and the mulberry exhibited a high ability to accumulate Ni and Cd from the soil. Conclusively, compared to using the two soil mediums separately, composting garden waste and sewage sludge together is beneficial for soil improvement and vegetation growth.

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Acknowledgements

Thanks to Mr. Azfar Hussain for the language modification of the article which enhances the readability of the article.

Funding

Funding for the study was granted from the Science and Technology Committee of Beijing (Z151100002115006).

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Contributions

Experimental design: Liqing Si, Xiawei Peng, and Jinxing Zhou. Field investigation and laboratory experiment: Liqing Si. Data analysis: Liqing Si. Drafting of manuscript: Liqing Si and Jinxing Zhou. and Revisions and suggestions: Xiawei Peng and Jinxing Zhou

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jinxing Zhou.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Hailong Wang

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Si, L., Peng, X. & Zhou, J. The suitability of growing mulberry (Morus alba L.) on soils consisting of urban sludge composted with garden waste: a new method for urban sludge disposal. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 1379–1393 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-3635-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-3635-1

Keywords

  • Sewage sludge
  • Garden waste
  • Heavy metal
  • Soil improvement