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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

The Phytoavailability of Cadmium to Lettuce in Long-Term Biosolids-Amended Soils


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 27 No. 5, p. 1071-1078
    Received: May 29, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s): sbrown@asrr.arsusda.gov
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  1. Sally L. Brown *,
  2. Rufus L. Chaney,
  3. J. Scott Angle and
  4. James A. Ryan
  1. D ep. of Agronomy, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD.
    N ational Risk Management Research Lab, USEPA, Cincinnati, OH.



A field study was conducted to assess the phytoavailability of Cd in long-term biosolids-amended plots managed at high and low pH. The experiment, established 13 to 15 yr prior to the present cropping, on a Christiana fine sandy loam soil (a clayey, kaolinitic, mesic Typic Paleudult) used a variety of biosolids. Two of the biosolids had total Cd concentrations of 13.4 and 210 mg kg−1. A Cd salt treatment, with Cd added to soil at a rate equivalent to the Cd added by the higher Cd biosolids applied at 100 Mg ha−1, was also included. The lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. longifolia) cultivar (Paris Island Cos) used in the initial study was also used in the current study. Lettuce Cd was compared between treatments, and in relation to the soil Cd/soil organic C (OC) ratio. There has been no significant increase in plant Cd since the initial cropping. With 16% of the biosolids added OC remaining, lettuce grown on the soil amended with the more contaminated biosolids was not different than that of the initial cropping. Further, significantly less Cd was taken up by lettuce grown on biosolids-amended soil than lettuce grown on soil amended with equivalent rates of Cd salt. The Cd concentration in lettuce grown in the low Cd biosolids treatment was not different from the control. These results indicate that the potential hazards associated with food chain transfer of biosolids-applied Cd are substantially lower than equivalent Cd salt treatments, and that the hazards do not increase over time.

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