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Sci Total Environ. 2012 May 1;424:39-47. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.02.042. Epub 2012 Mar 16.

Sewage sludge fertiliser use: implications for soil and plant copper evolution in forest and agronomic soils.

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Departamento de Producción Vegetal, Escuela Politécnica Superior de Lugo, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Campus Universitario, 27002 Lugo, Spain.


Fertilisation with sewage sludge may lead to crop toxicity and environmental degradation. This study aims to evaluate the effects of two types of soils (forest and agronomic), two types of vegetation (unsown (coming from soil seed bank) and sown), and two types of fertilisation (sludge fertilisation and mineral fertilisation, with a no fertiliser control) in afforested and treeless swards and in sown and unsown forestlands on the total and available Cu concentration in soil, the leaching of this element and the Cu levels in plant. The experimental design was completely randomised with nine treatments and three replicates. Fertilisation with sewage sludge increased the concentration of Cu in soil and plant, but the soil values never exceeded the maximum set by Spanish regulations. Sewage sludge inputs increased both the total and Mehlich 3 Cu concentrations in agronomic soils and the Cu levels in plant developed in agronomic and forest soils, with this effect pronounced in the unsown swards of forest soils. Therefore, the use of high quality sewage sludge as fertiliser may improve the global productivity of forest, agronomic and silvopastoral systems without creating environmental hazards.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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