Castaldi, Paola and Garau, Giovanni and Melis, Pietro (2004) Influence of compost from sea weeds on heavy metal dynamics in the soil-plant system. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, Vol. 13 (11b), p. 1322-1328. ISSN 1018-4619. Article.
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Using compost in agriculture can cause environmental problems because it may contain toxic substances. Particular attention should be paid to the possible presence of heavy metals in compost. However, in these cases the severity of pollution depends on the chemical form of the heavy metals. Studies on the environmental effects of heavy metal levels in compost showed that the amount of pollution varies according to soil type, plant species and compost quality. Experiments have therefore been carried out with lettuce (Lactuca sativa) grown in soils amended with different types of compost (leaves of beached Posidonia oceanica were used as a matrix), which had high concentrations of heavy metals. The total concentrations of Pb, Zn, Cd, Cr, Ni and Cu were determined in soils samples, leaves and lettuce roots. Finally, a sequential extraction of heavy metals in soil samples was carried out. Comparisons were made with non-amended soil. In the compost-amended soil samples, there was an increase in the total heavy metal concentration. The percentage of metals extracted by H2O was low in all the soil samples. The percentage of metals extracted by Ca(NO3)2 and EDTA was variable, depending on the metals analysed. There was no significant difference in the heavy metal concentrations between leaves and roots in all the plants examined. Finally, the results showed that the use of compost obtained from leaves of beached P. oceanica as a matrix did not cause accumulation of heavy metals in lettuce plants.
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