Nutrient accumulation and environmental risks of biosolids and different fertilizers on horticultural plants

In this study, the effects of different concentration proportions of biosolids (0%, 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20%) in soils on the growth performance, nutrient contents, and toxicity performance of three ornamental species - Ixora chinensis, Schefflera heptaphylla, and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis - were studied.

Other common organic soil amendments like biochar, chicken manure (CM), and wood waste compost (WWC) were used to compare the feasibility of biosolid applications to. The results showed that the growth performance of the three ornamental species was similar. Soil treated with a 10% concentration of biosolids performed the best in terms of total nutrients in the soil for the three species. For the total nutrients in the plants, biosolids were the best followed by CM, WWC, and biochar.

The levels of heavy metals were examined and nutrient balance efficiency was calculated. Undetectable amount of heavy metals was measured in the three ornamental species, meaning it is safe to use biosolids as fertilizers. The 10% concentration of biosolids also performed the best in nutrient balance efficiency, followed by soil treated with 20% CM. The results indicated that the function of biosolids and CM was significant, and these could be a substitute for biochar and WWC use in soils. 

Read the complete research at

Pan, Min & Yau, Pui & Lee, Kai & Zhang, Hao & Lee, Vincent & Lai, Cheuk & Fan, Ho. (2021). Nutrient Accumulation and Environmental Risks of Biosolids and Different Fertilizers on Horticultural Plants. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution. 232. 10.1007/s11270-021-05424-5. 

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