Effect of sewage sludge on metal content of grassland soil and herbage in semiarid lands

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Arvas Ö., Keskin B., Yılmaz İ. H.

TURKISH JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY, vol.37, no.2, pp.179-187, 2013 (SCI-Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 37 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.3906/tar-1203-3
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.179-187
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


Utilization for agriculture is one of the main disposal methods for sewage sludge. Subirrigated pastures are close to settlements

and under intensive usage. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of sewage sludge on subirrigated pasture soil and

plant metal concentrations, and the relationship between them. Activated sewage sludge was applied to surface grassland at 25, 50, 75,

and 100 t ha–1 year–1 treatments for 2 years. The concentration of all metals in topsoil (0–20 cm) increased depending on application

dosages, but only Zn concentration increased in subsoil (20–40 cm) consistently. While in the second year the concentration of topsoil

diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA) metals increased significantly, it decreased in the subsoil. The ratio of organic matter

increased in topsoil, but decreased in subsoil compared to the control. Doses of sewage sludge of 25 and 50 t ha–1 did not increase the

metal content of herbage. However, the herbage’s Cu, Zn, Pb, and Cd content increased at 75 and 100 t ha–1 treatments in comparison

with both lower doses and the control. Similar to the soil concentration, the Zn content of herbage increased proportionally with

higher sewage sludge application doses. Topsoil DTPA-extractable Zn, Cu, and Pb concentrations were correlated to herbage Zn, Cu,

and Pb content significantly and positively. In subsoil, only DTPA-extractable Cu concentration was correlated to herbage Cu content

significantly and negatively (r = –0.53**). A 25 t ha–1 year–1 application of sewage sludge can be recommended as an organic fertilizer in

semiarid subirrigated pastures, as it increases topsoil organic matter and results in a low concentration of DTPA-extractable and plant

metal content.