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Effects of compost and phosphate on plant arsenic accumulation from soils near pressure-treated wood 2017-11-27

Xinde Cao, Lena Q. Ma


Leaching of arsenic (As) from chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood may elevate soil arsenic levels. Thus, an environmental concern arises regarding accumulation of As in vegetables grown in these soils. In this study, a greenhouse experiment was conducted to evaluate As accumulation by vegetables from the soils adjacent to the CCA-treated utility poles and fences and examine the effects of soil amendments on plant As accumulation. Carrot (Daucus carota L.) and lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) were grown for ten weeks in the soil with or without compost and phosphate amendments. As expected, elevated As concentrations were observed in the pole soil (43 mg kg-1) and in the fence soil (27 mg kg-1), resulting in enhanced As accumulation of 44 mg kg-1 in carrot and 32 mg kg_1 in lettuce. Addition of phosphate to soils increased As accumulation by 4.56–9.3 times for carrot and 2.45–10.1 for lettuce due to increased soil water-soluble As via replacement of arsenate by phosphate in soil. However, biosolid compost application significantly reduced plant As uptake by 79–86%, relative to the untreated soils. This suppression is possibly because of As adsorbed by biosolid organic mater, which reduced As phytoavailability. Fractionation analysis showed that biosolid decreased As in soil water-soluble, exchangeable, and carbonate fraction by 45%, whereas phosphate increased it up to 2.61 times, compared to the untreated soils. Our results indicate that growing vegetables in soils near CCA-treated wood may pose a risk of As exposure for humans. Compost amendment can reduce such a risk by reducing As accumulation by vegetables and can be an important strategy for remediating CCA-contaminated soils. Caution should be taken for phosphate application since it enhances As accumulation.

Keywords: Chromated copper arsenate-treated woods; Contaminated soil; Arsenic accumulation; Soil amendments

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