Influence of soil water content and soil amendments on trace metal release and seedling growth in serpentine soil
Biswas, Jayanta Kumar
Raposo, Zach A.
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Purpose This study was conducted to evaluate the synergistic effects of organic amendments and soil water status on trace metal release from serpentine soil. Materials and methods Two organic amendments, dendro-biochar (BC) and municipal solid waste compost (CM), were added to serpentine soil at four different ratios, specifically 2.5:0.0, 2.5:1.0, 2.5:2.5, and 2.5:5.0% (w/w). Along with the control (with no organic amendments), each soil treatment was incubated separately under saturated point (SP) and field capacity (FC) water content for 10 days. Subsamples were obtained from each treatment to analyze the bioavailable trace metal concentration and related edaphic parameters, namely total organic carbon (TOC), nitrate (NO3−), phosphate (PO43−), and cation exchange capacity (CEC). Then, the soil solution was eluded from each treatment and incubated for 10 days under permanent wilting point (PW). Furthermore, a seed germination test was performed under the different treatments. Results and discussion Significant reductions (p < 0.05) in bioavailable concentration of all four trace metals were observed in all the amendment ratios under all water status treatments (SP, FC, SP-PW, and FC-PW), compared with the control. Furthermore, FC-PW with the highest amendment ratio (2.5% BC:5.0% CM) reduced Ni by 67.6%; FC-PW with 2.5% BC + 2.5% CM immobilized Mn and Co by 92.1 and 96.9%, respectively, and SP water status with all four amendment ratios immobilized 100% of bioavailable Cr. Maximum amendment ratio under all four water status enhanced %TOC and significantly increased PO43− concentration in SP-PW. However, FC showed comparatively high NO3− concentration than other treatments. Germination index (GI) for mung beans and tomato did not show a significant difference in response to amendment ratios or soil water status; however, SP treatment expressed significantly high seedling vigor (SVI) for mung beans. Conclusions Treatments of BC and CM effectively immobilize the bioavailable fraction of trace metals in serpentine soils. Increasing amendment ratio increases the %TOC regardless of the soil water status, whereas SP-PW is favorable for the availability of PO43−, and FC is favorable for availability of NO3−. The GI for mung beans and tomato seed was not influenced by the soil water status nor by the amendment ratios. However, the SVI of mung bean seedlings was controlled by the soil water status