About Us | Help Videos | Contact Us | Subscriptions

Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - SHORT COMMUNICATIONS

Changes in the Nature of Sewage Sludge Organic Matter During a Twenty-One-Month Incubation


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 5, p. 1924-1929
    Received: Dec 10, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): ronald.smernik@adelaide.edu.au
Request Permissions

  1. Ronald J. Smernik *a,
  2. Ian W. Olivera and
  3. Mike J. McLaughlinb
  1. a Soil and Land Systems, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Waite Campus, Urrbrae, South Australia 5064, Australia
    b CSIRO Land and Water, PMB2, Glen Osmond South Australia 5064, Australia


Six sewage sludges from five sewage treatment plants in Australia were incubated for up to 21 months. Carbon losses at the end of the 21-mo incubation varied substantially. The remaining organic matter was isolated by treatment with hydrofluoric acid (HF) and characterized using a range of solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic techniques. By every measure (signal distribution in cross polarization [CP] and Bloch decay [BD] spectra, carbon NMR observability determined by spin counting, and the appearance of proton spin relaxation editing subspectra), the chemical composition of the residual organic matter appeared to be little different from that of the original sludges, even for those sludges that experienced the greatest carbon losses. Importantly, these NMR properties distinguish sewage sludge organic matter from soil organic matter. Thus, it should be possible to follow the decomposition of sewage sludge organic matter applied to soils in the field using solid-state 13C NMR spectroscopy.

  Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.

Copyright © 2004. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA