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Capability of the Invasive Tree Prosopis glandulosa Torr. to Remediate Soil Treated with Sewage Sludge

Department of Biology, College of Science, King Khalid University, Abha 61413, Saudi Arabia
Department of Botany and Microbiology, Faculty of Science, South Valley University, Qena 83523, Egypt
Soil and Water Use Department, Agriculture and Biological Research Division, National Research Centre, Cairo 12622, Egypt
Med-Soil Research Group, Seville University, 41012 Seville, Spain
Department of Horticulture, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Aswan University, Aswan 81528, Egypt
Departmento de Biología Vegetal y Ecología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Sevilla, 41080 Sevilla, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2711;
Received: 8 March 2019 / Revised: 24 April 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
PDF [1091 KB, uploaded 16 May 2019]


Sewage sludge improves agricultural soil and plant growth, but there are hazards associated with its use, including high metal(loid) contents. An experimental study was conducted under greenhouse conditions to examine the effects of sewage sludge on growth of the invasive tree Prosopis glandulosa, as well as to determine its phytoremediation capacity. Plants were established and grown for seven months along a gradient of sewage sludge content. Plant traits, soil properties, and plant and soil concentrations of N, P, K, Cd, Pb, Cu, Ni, Zn, Cr, Co, As, and Fe were recorded. The addition of sewage sludge led to a significant decrease in soil pH, and Ni, Co, and As concentrations, as well as an increase in soil organic matter and the concentrations of N, P, Cu, Zn, and Cr. Increasing sewage sludge content in the growth medium raised the total uptake of most metals by P. glandulosa plants due to higher biomass accumulation (taller plants with more leaves) and higher metal concentrations in the plant tissues. P. glandulosa concentrated more Cd, Pb, Cu, Zn, and Fe in its below-ground biomass (BGB) than in its above-ground biomass (AGB). P. glandulosa concentrated Ni, Co, and As in both BGB and AGB. P. glandulosa has potential as a biotool for the phytoremediation of sewage sludges and sewage-amended soils in arid and semi-arid environments, with a potential accumulation capability for As in plant leaves. View Full-Text
Keywords: alien plant; phytoremediation; metal; plant traits; sludge alien plant; phytoremediation; metal; plant traits; sludge

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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 (CC BY 4.0).

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Abbas, A.M.; Abd-Elmabod, S.K.; El-Ashry, S.M.; Soliman, W.S.; El-Tayeh, N.; Castillo, J.M. Capability of the Invasive Tree Prosopis glandulosa Torr. to Remediate Soil Treated with Sewage Sludge. Sustainability 2019, 11, 2711.

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