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Journal of Agronomy
Year: 2004  |  Volume: 3  |  Issue: 3  |  Page No.: 229 - 236

Changes in Soil Fertility and Plant Uptake of Nutrients and Heavy Metals in Response to Sewage Sludge Application to Calcareous Soils

Munir Jamil Mohammad and Bayan M. Athamneh    

Abstract: Pot experiment was conducted to evaluate the response of lettuce to application of Sewage Sludge (SS) to calcareous soils. The following treatments were investigated zero SS application (control), 20, 40, 80 and 160 t SS ha1. Additional treatment (80 kg P2O5 ha1) as diammonium phosphate (DAP) was included to represent the recommendation rate. Lettuce was grown for 8 weeks then the plant dry and fresh weights were recorded. Grounded plant tissue and soil were analyzed for chemical and physical parameters. Results showed that application of SS increased the fresh and dry weights over fertilizer and control treatments. High rates (80 and 160 t ha1) of SS gave similarly the highest plant dry and fresh weights while the DAP fertilizer treatment and the two lowest SS rates (20 and 40 ha1) resulted in similar plant growth. Macronutrients, microelements and heavy metals were increased with SS application  over the control and the DAP fertilizer treatments. SS addition  decreased soil pH and increased electrical conductivity, organic matter and soil P. Addition of SS increased DTPA-extractable micronutrients and heavy metals over the DAP fertilizer and the control treatments. Addition of 40 SS t ha1 was equivalent to the recommended fertilizer rate in increasing lettuce growth. Higher rates of SS resulted in farther increase in lettuce growth but resulted in higher plant heavy metal content. Therefore, addition of 40 t ha1 to calcareous soil is recommended to achieve acceptable level of plant growth with minimal adverse effect on plant and soil qualities.

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