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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2013, Article ID 892036, 10 pages
Research Article

Availability and Plant Uptake of Biosolid-Borne Metals

1Department of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, California Baptist University, Riverside, CA 92504-3297, USA
2Department of Environmental Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0001, USA

Received 12 July 2013; Revised 16 September 2013; Accepted 18 September 2013

Academic Editor: Rodrigo Studart Corrêa

Copyright © 2013 Bon-Jun Koo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Metal uptake by different plant species was quantified in sand media amended with biosolids in a sand-culture hydroponic medium. In a previous paper (Koo et al. 2006), we concluded that total quantities of organic acids were greatest in treatments containing both plants and biosolids, with lesser amounts in treatments with plants alone, biosolids-treated media alone, and a nutrient solution-irrigated blank medium. Biosolids enhanced organic acid production in the rhizosphere. The purpose of this study was to evaluate how organic acids in root exudates affect the absorption of metals by selected plants. We found that the concentrations of metals in the plant tissue grown on biosolids-treated medium were always higher than that from the standard medium, irrespective of species and cultivar. The amount of metal transferred from the biosolids-treated medium to the plant varied with the metal element, following the order: Cd > Ni = Zn > Cu > Pb > Cr. Interspecies and cultivar differences in metal uptake were trivial compared to differences induced by the treatment. The metal uptake decreased with the growth period, and the kinetics of metal uptake, as indicated by accumulation in corn shoots, were essentially a first order during the initial 4 weeks of growth, especially for Cd and Zn.