Effect of Electric Arc Furnace Slag on Growth and Physiology of Maize (Zea mays L.)


Basic slag, used in this study as a potential source of certain nutrients, is a byproduct of the production of steel in electric arc furnace (EAF). A pot experiment with two nutrient-poor substrates was conducted to investigate to compare the effect of EAF steel slag and fertilizers NPK+ F e on growth and availability of specific nutrients to maize. Mineral content of both substrate and plant leaves, growth, chlorophyll fluorescence and photosynthetic pigments were measured following six weeks of cultivation. As steel slag also contains trace amounts of heavy metals, certain oxidative parameters (antioxidative enzyme activities and lipid peroxidation) were evaluated as well. The steel slag improved soil mineral composition, increased above ground maize biomass by providing Fe, Mn, Mg, K and partly P and improved photosynthetic parameters. The potential phytotoxicity of EAF slag containing substrates was not determined as evaluated by MDA (malondialdehyde), GR (glutathione reductase) and APX (ascorbate peroxidase) levels. The obtained results show that EAF steel slag is comparable to NPK+ F e in supplying nutrients for maize growth, indicating the potential of EAF steel slag as an inexpensive and non-phytotoxic nutrient supplier especially in poor soils.


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This study has been funded by the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport, as part of Projects no. 119-1191196-1202. We are thankful to Dr. T. Sofilić for donation of EAF steel slag.

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Correspondence to Sandra Radić.

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Radić, S., Crnojević, H., Sandev, D. et al. Effect of Electric Arc Furnace Slag on Growth and Physiology of Maize (Zea mays L.). BIOLOGIA FUTURA 64, 490–499 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1556/ABiol.64.2013.4.8

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  • Steel slag
  • maize
  • oxidative stress
  • pytotoxicity
  • inorganic fertilizer