Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 8, pp 7486–7496 | Cite as

Cobalt speciation and phytoavailability in fluvo-aquic soil under treatments of spent mushroom substrate from Pleurotus ostreatus

  • Borui Liu
  • Qing HuangEmail author
  • Yuefeng Su
  • Qianhui Xue
  • Liuye Sun
Research Article


Cobalt (Co) is a nutrient for soil microorganisms and crops, as well as a worldwide industrial pollutant. When the level of Co exceeds the acceptable limit, this heavy metal can lead to devastating consequences for soil environments. There is considerable attention and concern about elevated levels of Co contaminating soil and crops. Spent mushroom substrate (SMS) is a potential amendment for the adsorption of pollutants, which has potential for resolving Co-polluted soil that spans the world. To investigate the environmental behavior and risks associated with Co in fluvo-aquic soil under specific treatments of SMS from Pleurotus ostreatus, a lab-scale pot experiment was conducted. SMS and exogenous Co were added to soil, which was retained for approximately 30 days. Pakchois (Brassica chinensis L.) were planted in the treated soil for 28 days until harvest. The Co speciation in soil (modified BCR sequential extraction) and Co accumulation in pakchoi tissue were studied. When the SMS concentration was within a range of 0 to 9 g kg−1 (total amount = 0 to 2.7 g), Co in the acid-soluble fraction was transformed to the oxidizable fraction in soil, resulting from the mesh structure on the surface of SMS, as well as the amide and carboxyl in the SMS molecular structure. In this situation, the Co accumulation levels in the pakchois decreased significantly (P < 0.05), indicating the efficacy of SMS for reducing Co phytoavailability. However, when the SMS concentration reached 12 g kg−1, the phytoavailability increased again (P < 0.05). When the SMS concentration ranged from 8.86 to 9.51 g kg−1, the Co phytoavailability in soil reached a minimum, while the biomass of pakchoi reached a maximum. Conclusively, SMS from Pleurotus ostreatus are effective for reducing the Co phytoavailability, as well as for reducing the chance of Co transferring into a human’s body through crops (i.e., food consumption). In order to achieve the optimum efficacy, the SMS concentration in soil should be maintained at a range of 8.86 to 9.51 g kg−1.


Soil pollution Cobalt Phytoavailability Speciation Spent mushroom substrate 



This work is supported by the Beijing Key Laboratory Construction Project, Beijing Municipal Education Commission Joint Construction Program (20160939023). We are grateful to Beijing Academy of Agriculture for providing facilities for the experiment. Special recognition is extended to Ryan M. Kelly of Rykell Scientific Editorial, LLC in Los Angeles, CA, for revising and proofreading the entire manuscript. Moreover, Borui Liu wants to thank Mr. Hsin-hung Chen for providing spiritual support in his life and research work.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_4080_MOESM1_ESM.docx (288 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 288 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Materials Science and EngineeringBeijing Institute of TechnologyBeijingChina

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