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Environ Monit Assess. 2008 Apr;139(1-3):355-65. Epub 2007 Jul 12.

Restoration of fly ash dump through biological interventions.

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Environmental Biotechnology Division, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nehru Marg, Nagpur 440020, India.


Field experiment on 10 ha area of fly ash dump was conducted to restore and revegetate it using biological interventions, which involves use of organic amendment, selection of suitable plant species along with specialized nitrogen fixing strains of biofertilizer. The results of the study indicated that amendment with farm yard manure at 50 t/ha improved the physical properties of fly ash such as maximum water holding capacity from 40.0 to 62.42% while porosity improved from 56.78 to 58.45%. The nitrogen content was increased by 4.5 times due to addition of nitrogen fixing strains of Bradyrhizobium and Azotobacter species, while phosphate content was increased by 10.0 times due to addition of VAM, which helps in phosphate immobilization. Due to biofertilizer inoculation different microbial groups such as Rhizobium, Azotobacter and VAM spores, which were practically absent in fly ash improved to 7.1 x 10(7), 9.2 x 10(7) CFU/g and 35 VAM spores/10 g of fly ash, respectively. Inoculation of biofertilizer and application of FYM helped in reducing the toxicity of heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, nickel and lead which were reduced by 25, 46, 48 and 47%, respectively, due to the increased organic matter content in the fly ash which complexes the heavy metals thereby decreasing the toxicity of metals. Amendment of fly ash with FYM and biofertilizer helped in profuse root development showing 15 times higher growth in Dendrocalamus strictus plant as compared to the control. Thus amendment and biofertilizer application provided better supportive material for anchorage and growth of the plant.

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