Evaluation of Cu and Pb Bioavailability from Compost Amended Soils
Cooper, Alicia M
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Land application of biosolid or industrial compost raises concerns regarding heavy metal accumulation in soils, plants and free-ranging livestock. A strip-split plot design evaluated two levels of sewage sludge (22/44 t ha-1) and municipal solid waste (21/42 t ha-1) compared to nitrogen fertilizer and an unfertilized control. Treatments were evaluated with three levels of limestone (CaCO3 at 0, 3 and 6 t ha-1) over two years corn seeded no-till. Swiss Chard cultivated in field soil samples within a greenhouse monitored heavy metal bioavailability. Compost amended soil was incorporated into chicken feed to simulate soil ingestion in a free-range production system. Compost application increased total soil Pb over time yet decreased both available soil and corn plant Cu levels over time. No heavy metal accumulation was observed in Swiss Chard or poultry tissue. Biosolid composts containing elevated Cu or Pb levels can be safely used for crop or free-range broiler production.