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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PLANT AND SOIL FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE BIOAVAILABILITY OF HEAVY METALS IN CROPS

Location: Crop Systems & Global Change

Title: Phosphorus, copper, cadmium, manganese, lead and zinc uptake by wheat from long-term biosolids amended soils

Author
item Codling, Eton

Submitted to: Soil Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 4, 2011
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Biosolids have been applied to agricultural land for many years as a source of plant nutrients. There are growing concerns of potential negative effects of residual phosphorus and metals from long-term biosolids amended fields on the environment. Objectives of this study were to determine, i) phosphorus and metals solubility in three soils with histories of biosolids application and ii) phosphorus, copper, cadmium, manganese, lead and zinc uptake by wheat grown on those soils. Wheat was grown on three soils that received a one-time application of biosolids 16-24 years earlier. Soil pH and electrical conductivity did not change with biosolids applications but Mehlich 3 extractable phosphorus, cadmium, copper, lead and zinc were higher in soils amended with biosolids. With the exception of one biosolid, wheat yield increased with biosolids application. Tissue phosphorus concentration increased with biosolids and ranged from 1.73 to 6.49 g kg-1. Tissue cadmium and zinc concentrations were also higher in wheat grown on the biosolids amended soils, while there was only a slight change in tissue copper, manganese and lead concentration. This study demonstrates that regardless of the biosolids source and treatment, phosphorus, cadmium, and zinc remained in soluble form and available for uptake by wheat.

Technical Abstract: Biosolids have been applied to agricultural land for many years as a source of plant nutrients. There are growing concerns of residual phosphorus and metals from long-term biosolids amended fields and their potential impact on the environment. Objectives of this study were to determine, i) phosphorus solubility in three soils with histories of biosolids application and ii) phosphorus, copper, cadmium, manganese, and zinc uptake by wheat grown on those soils. Wheat was grown on Christiana, Minnesota and Fulton soils amended with a one-time application of biosolids 16-24 years earlier. Soil pH and EC did not change with biosolids applications but Mehlich-3 extractable Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn, and P increased. With the exception of the limed-composted and Chicago biosolids, wheat yield increased with biosolids application. Tissue P concentration increased with biosolids and ranged from 1.73 to 6.49 g kg-1. Tissue Cd and Zn concentrations increased with biosolids, while Cu, Mn and Pb either decreased or did not change. This study demonstrates that regardless of the biosolids source and treatment, P, Cd, and Zn remained in soluble form and available for uptake by wheat.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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