Phytoremediation of heavy metal-contaminated soil by switchgrass: A comparative study utilizing different composts and coir fiber on pollution remediation, plant productivity, and nutrient leaching

Paliza Shrestha, Korkmaz Bellitürk, Josef H. Görres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigated the effects of organic amendments (thermophilic compost, vermicompost, and coconut coir) on the bioavailability of trace heavy metals of Zn, Cd, Pb, Co, and Ni from heavy metal-spiked soils under laboratory conditions. To test switch grass (Panicum virgatum) as a potential crop for phytoremediation of heavy metal from soil, we investigated whether the addition of organic amendments promoted switch grass growth, and consequently, uptake of metals. Compost is a valuable soil amendment that supplies nutrients for plant establishment and growth, which is beneficial for phytoremediation. However, excess application of compost can result in nutrient leaching, which has adverse effects on water quality. We tested the nutrient leaching potential of the different organic amendments to identify trade-offs between phytoremediation and water quality. Results showed that the amendments decreased the amount of bioavailable metals in the soils. Organic amendments increased soil pH, electrical conductivity (EC), and soil nutrient status. Switch grass shoot and root biomass was significantly greater in the amended soils compared to the non-amended control. Amended treatments showed detectable levels of heavy metal uptake in switch grass shoots, while the control treatment did not produce enough switch grass biomass to measure uptake. Switch grass uptake of certain heavy metals, and concentrations of some leachate nutrients significantly differed among the amended treatments. By improving soil properties and plant productivity and reducing heavy metal solubility that can otherwise hamper plant survival, organic amendments can greatly enhance phytoremediation in heavy metal-contaminated soils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1261
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume16
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Bioremediation
  • Coir
  • Heavy metals
  • Phytoremediation
  • Switch grass
  • Thermophilic compost
  • Vermicompost

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