Amendment of an Acid Mine Soil with Compost and Polyacrylate Polymers Enhances Enzymatic Activities but may Change the Distribution of Plant Species

TitleAmendment of an Acid Mine Soil with Compost and Polyacrylate Polymers Enhances Enzymatic Activities but may Change the Distribution of Plant Species
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
Authorsde Varennes A, Cunha-Queda C, Qu GW
JournalWater Air and Soil Pollution
Date PublishedMay
ISBN Number0049-6979
Accession NumberWOS:000276497900008
Keywordsavailability, biosolids, Compost, contaminated soil, enzymatic activities, growth, heavy-metals, hydrophilic polymer, mine soil, polyacrylate polymers, remediation, spergularia-purpurea, urease activity, waste

Many soils derived from pyrite mines spoils are acidic, poor in organic matter and plant nutrients, contaminated with trace elements, and support only sparse vegetation. The establishment of a plant cover is essential to decrease erosion and the contamination of water bodies with acid drainage containing large concentrations of trace elements. We tested the application of compost and polyacrylate polymers to promote the growth of indigenous plant species present in the mine area. Soil treatments consisted of unamended soil (control), soil with mineral fertilizers only, soil with fertilizer plus compost, soil with fertilizer plus polyacrylate polymers, and soil with fertilizer plus both amendments. Half of the soil was grown with Briza maxima L. (greater quaking grass), Chaetopogon fasciculatus (Link) Hayek (chaetopogon), and Spergularia purpurea (Persoon) G. Don fil. (purple sandspurry), while the remainder was left bare. In the absence of plants, the greatest improvements in soil conditions were obtained by the application of both amendments, which was associated with the greatest values of protease, acid phosphatase, and beta-glucosidase, whereas the activity of cellulase and microbial respiration were similar in soil amended with compost or polymer. Dehydrogenase activity was greatest in soil with compost (with or without polymer), whereas urease activity was impaired by both amendments. In the presence of plants, the application of both amendments led to the greatest activities of protease, urease, beta-glucosidase, cellulase, and microbial respiration, but acid phosphatase was mainly enhanced by polymer and dehydrogenase was increased by compost. Plant growth was stimulated in all treatments compared with unamended soil, but the greatest value for total accumulated biomass was obtained in fertilized soil receiving both amendments. However, species responded differently to treatment: while the growth of B. maxima was greatest in soil with compost and polymer, the growth of C. fasciculatus responded better to soil with compost, and S. purpurea grew better in polymer-amended soil. The amendments tested improved the quality of a mine soil and stimulated plant growth. However, botanical composition likely changes over time with amendments, and this needs to be considered when a large scale application of amendments is projected.

Alternate JournalWater Air Soil PollWater Air Soil Poll