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Chemosphere. 2014 Oct;112:323-32. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.04.063. Epub 2014 May 20.

Influence of heavy metal rich tannery sludge on soil enzymes vis-à-vis growth of Tagetes minuta, an essential oil bearing crop.

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Agronomy and Soil Science, Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow 226015, India. Electronic address:
Agronomy and Soil Science, Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow 226015, India. Electronic address:


Tannery sludge is available in plenty and is hazardous to environment as well as plant and animal life. It is very important to manage the tannery sludge in an environmentally sound manner. The aim of this study was to assess the physico-chemical, microbial and biochemical properties of soil treated with different levels of sludge. In this study, Tagetes minuta an essential oil bearing crop was grown in two different textured soils treated with different levels of tannery sludge. Application of tannery sludge (TS) increased the growth and oil yield of plant and also the activity of urease and soil microbial biomass nitrogen (SMBN) when applied in 50:50 combinations of soil:sludge. The crop performed well in coarse soil with a soil:sludge ratio of 50:50. High concentration of tannery sludge exhibited inhibitory effect on SMBN and urease activity. Acid/alkaline phosphatase, dehydrogenase and soil microbial biomass carbon (SMBC) increased as the sludge concentration increased in soil. This may be due to high organic matter present in tannery sludge. Roots accumulated more metal than the shoot. No detectable amount of metal was found in oil of T.minuta. To test the relation between 20 characters principal component analysis (PCA) was performed. PCA analysis indicates that cation exchange capacity (CEC), SMBC, dehydrogenase, acid and alkaline phosphatases were grouped in group 1. SMBN, urease and cis-ocimene content in oil were in group 2 whereas biomasss, chlorophyll a, limonene, Z and E-tagetone were in group 3. PC-I contributes 54% of total variance and PC-II contributes 38% of the total variance. The results concluded that T.minuta can mitigate metal toxicity by root absorption. Microbial activity and biomass of plant was higher in coarse soil with TS than fine soil with TS.


Chlorophyll; Principal component analysis; Soil enzymes; Soil texture; Tagetes minuta; Tannery sludge

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