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Changes in Nutrients and Bioavailability of Potentially Toxic Metals in Mine Waste Contaminated Soils Amended with Fly Ash Enriched Vermicompost

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Mine waste contaminated soils are classified as degraded soils with poor conditions such as low soil pH, low organic matter and high metal concentrations. This study evaluated the potential of fly ash enriched vermicompost in improving poor soil conditions in mine waste affected soils. The soils were amended with the vermicompost to supply 0, 10, 20, 40 and 80 mg of phosphorus per kg and incubated for 8 weeks. The soil pH increased from the original acidic range of 3.7–5.3 to 6.8–7.6. Available P significantly improved (P < 0.001) to yield the target P levels; however, at the end of incubation period, 80 mg-P/kg treatment had lower Olsen P relative to the 40 mg-P/kg treatment. Nitrogen mineralisation was enhanced with addition of the vermicompost as reflected by an average increase of 51% in NO2/NO3-N while NH4+-N decreased over time. The Mn, Zn and Pb solubility was reduced with addition of the vermicompost, with 20 mg-P/kg resulting in the most reduced solubility. However, concentrations at 20 mg-P/kg treatment were generally not different to 40 mg-P/kg. Solubility of Cu significantly increased in proportion to increase in amendment rate but did not exceed maximum permissible limits. Solubility of Cd and Cr also increased during the incubation study; however, this could not be attributed to the different vermicompost treatments but the soil properties. Therefore, in conclusion, application of fly ash enriched vermicompost at 40 mg-P/kg was found to be optimum for a balanced supply of essential nutrients and reduced metal solubility.

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This study was funded by the Govan Mbeki Research Development Centre at the University of Fort Hare and the National Research Foundation of South Africa. The authors wish to thank Dr Alen Manyevere, Mr Tendayi Kandango and the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture for assisting with soil sampling. The authors also wish to thank the Dohne Agricultural Research Institute which also aided in the laboratory assays of some parameters reported herein.

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Correspondence to Noxolo Sweetness Lukashe.

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Fig S1

Changes in Fe during incubation of three mine waste contaminated soils amended with fly ash enriched vermicompost. Error bars indicate standard deviations (DOCX 44.2 kb)

Fig S2

Changes in Pb during incubation of mine waste contaminated soils amended with fly ash enriched vermicompostt. Error bars inidcate standard deviations (DOCX 32.2 kb)

Fig S3

Changes in B during incubation of three mine waste contaminated soils amended with fly ash enriched vermicompost. Error bars indicate standard deviations (DOCX 39.6 kb)

Table S1

Changes in As and Se during incubation of MT amended with fly ash enriched vermicompost. Error bars indicate standard deviations (DOCX 18.9 kb)

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Lukashe, N.S., Mupambwa, H.A. & Mnkeni, P.N.S. Changes in Nutrients and Bioavailability of Potentially Toxic Metals in Mine Waste Contaminated Soils Amended with Fly Ash Enriched Vermicompost. Water Air Soil Pollut 230, 306 (2019).

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  • Soil pH
  • Soil phosphorus
  • Nutrient mineralisation
  • Metal solubilisation