Soil Remediation and Improvement through the Application of By-Product Amendments

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2024 | Viewed by 9283

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Organisms and Systems Biology, University of Oviedo, 33003 Oviedo, Spain
Interests: cultivated soils; nutrient dynamics; soil remediation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Organisms and Systems Biology, University of Oviedo, 33003 Oviedo, Spain
Interests: soil remediation; biochar; phytorremediation; nanoparticles
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The loss of productive soil due to contamination and other degradation reasons and the excessive production of waste are two of the most pressing problems in today's society. For this reason, in this Special Issue, we want to unite these two problems and look for joint solutions, i.e., using by-products (biochar, hydrochar, compost, and inorganic amendments) to remediate contaminated soils (mine soils and brownfield soils) or improve soil quality (cultivated soils and farmlands). In addition, this Special Issue will include manuscripts that enhance the positive effect of amendments with other techniques such as phytoremediation or those that demonstrate crop improvements.

Dr. Elias Afif Khouri
Dr. Rubén Forján
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 1850 KiB  
Article
Reuse of Soils Fertilized with Ash as Recycling Derived Fertilizer Revealed Strong Stimulation of Microbial Communities Involved in P Mobilization in Lolium perenne Rhizospheres
by Lea Deinert and Achim Schmalenberger
Environments 2024, 11(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11030049 - 4 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1317
Abstract
Circular economy recycling-derived fertilizers (RDF) have the potential to replace linear economy fertilizers such as unsustainable superphosphates. Here, effects of ash RDF treatments in Irish grassland cultivation were investigated in a simulated second growing season. Soil fertilized in a preceding pot trial with [...] Read more.
Circular economy recycling-derived fertilizers (RDF) have the potential to replace linear economy fertilizers such as unsustainable superphosphates. Here, effects of ash RDF treatments in Irish grassland cultivation were investigated in a simulated second growing season. Soil fertilized in a preceding pot trial with superphosphate (SP), poultry-litter ash (PLA) and sewage-sludge ash (SSA) at P concentration of 60 kg P ha−1 and a P-free control (SP0) was reused in a microcosm trial. Lolium perenne was cultivated for 54 days in six replicates with a full complement of micro- and macro-nutrients other than P. PLA treatments provided higher dry weight shoot yields than SP0, while SSA and SP overlapped with SP0 and PLA. Most probable number (MPN) analysis showed that phosphonate- and phytate-utilizing bacterial abundance was significantly increased in PLA. Alkaline (phoD) phosphomonoesterase gene fragments were significantly more abundant (qPCR) in the ashes than the superphosphate or P-free control. Bacterial communities were significantly affected by the P application. Similarly, a significant separation of treatments was confirmed in a canonical correspondence analysis of the phoD-harboring community. The genera Streptomyces and Xanthomonas were significantly higher in abundance in the ash RDFs. These results demonstrated the potential benefits of ash RDF treatments as an alternative P source. Full article
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13 pages, 4661 KiB  
Article
The Application of Cyanobacteria as a Biofertilizer for Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) Production with a Focus on Environmental and Ecological Sustainability
by Saoli Chanda, Sanku Dattamudi, Krishnaswamy Jayachandran, Leonard J. Scinto and Mahadev Bhat
Environments 2024, 11(3), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11030045 - 27 Feb 2024
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Abstract
Cyanobacteria, an important addition to biofertilizers, are gaining popularity for their multifaceted benefits in sustainable agriculture and ecosystem restoration. However, harmful algal blooms (HABs) in freshwater, predominantly caused by cyanobacteria, prevent sunlight penetration into the water and develop hypoxic and anoxic conditions. We [...] Read more.
Cyanobacteria, an important addition to biofertilizers, are gaining popularity for their multifaceted benefits in sustainable agriculture and ecosystem restoration. However, harmful algal blooms (HABs) in freshwater, predominantly caused by cyanobacteria, prevent sunlight penetration into the water and develop hypoxic and anoxic conditions. We collected cyanobacteria slurry from Lake Jesup (Central Florida, USA), repurposed it as a biofertilizer, and incorporated it in a typical South Florida calcite soil for high-value okra (Abelmoschus esculentus; var: Clemson spineless) production. Experiments were conducted at the Organic Garden Shade House and Greenhouse located inside the main campus of the Florida International University (FIU), FL, USA. A two-year experiment with four different treatments was conducted, namely, (a) control (C; no fertilizer applied), (b) total synthetic (TS), (c) total biofertilizer (TB; only cyanobacteria biofertilizer was applied), and (d) half and half (HH; 50% biofertilizer + 50% synthetic fertilizer), which were arranged in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with six replications for each treatment. Our results indicate that TB and TS produced about 29 to 33% higher SPAD (soil plant analytical development) readings than the control. The absence of interveinal chlorosis (yellowing of leaves) in the TB and HH treatments suggests that the cyanobacteria-based biofertilizer had a role in supplying one of the critical micronutrients, iron (Fe). Analysis of the biofertilizer indicated 2000 ppm Fe content, which directly supports our observation. Similarly, average plant height (61 cm), yield (130 gm per pot), and crop biomass (67 gm) productions were significantly higher in TB than in the control. Overall, this study documents the potential of cyanobacteria biofertilizers as a viable option compared to synthetic fertilizers for sustainable crop production and soil health improvement. Full article
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17 pages, 2372 KiB  
Article
Zeolite and Winery Waste as Innovative By-Product for Vineyard Soil Management
by Serena Doni, Grazia Masciandaro, Cristina Macci, Davide Manzi, Giovan Battista Mattii, Eleonora Cataldo, Maria Gispert, Francesca Vannucchi and Eleonora Peruzzi
Environments 2024, 11(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11020029 - 2 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1523
Abstract
In semiarid environments, vine cultivation is a land use with a high impact with regard to soil erosion, loss of organic matter and biodiversity, contamination, and compaction. In addition, the wine supply chain produces a considerable quantity of organic waste, which remains as [...] Read more.
In semiarid environments, vine cultivation is a land use with a high impact with regard to soil erosion, loss of organic matter and biodiversity, contamination, and compaction. In addition, the wine supply chain produces a considerable quantity of organic waste, which remains as residues in the ecosystem. Within this context, we developed a sustainable vine management system to improve the efficient use of fertilisers by applying a by-product derived from the composting of winery wastes and zeolite. We evaluated the effects of the zeolite-based compost on the chemical, physical, and biochemical soil properties of a productive vineyard. Four treatments were set up and monitored for about two years. These were as follows: (1) Commercial compost (COM); (2) Zeolite (Z); (3) 30% zeolite and 70% winery waste compost (30 ZEO); (4) 10% zeolite and 90% winery waste compost (10 ZEO). The results demonstrated that the ZEO treatments could be considered a win–win solution able to improve soil water content, nutrient retention, carbon sequestration, and biochemical activity while also recycling wastes. In particular, 10 ZEO seems to be the amendment that best combines an improvement in soil biochemical properties with gradual and constant nutrient availability, thus satisfying, without exceeding, soil and plant needs. Full article
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9 pages, 1231 KiB  
Article
Effects of Wood Distillate (Pyroligneous Acid) on the Yield Parameters and Mineral Composition of Three Leguminous Crops
by Pablo Carril, Elisabetta Bianchi, Costanza Cicchi, Andrea Coppi, Marco Dainelli, Cristina Gonnelli, Stefano Loppi, Luigia Pazzagli and Ilaria Colzi
Environments 2023, 10(7), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10070126 - 19 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2504
Abstract
The excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture is increasing the demand for novel products to improve the quality of crops in a more sustainable way. Wood distillate (WD, pyroligneous acid) is a by-product obtained during the pyrolysis of plant biomass [...] Read more.
The excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture is increasing the demand for novel products to improve the quality of crops in a more sustainable way. Wood distillate (WD, pyroligneous acid) is a by-product obtained during the pyrolysis of plant biomass that can be successfully applied in agriculture due to its ability to enhance the growth, size, and weight of edible plant parts. However, there is little information concerning its plant yield-promoting effects on leguminous crops. The present work investigated the effects of WD on the yield, protein content and mineral composition of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), lentil (Lens culinaris L.) and bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) plants grown in field conditions. The application of WD showed remarkable yield-promoting effects mostly in lentil plants, which significantly increased plant and shoot biomass, the number and weight of both pods and seeds, as well as the total seed protein content. Furthermore, seeds from WD-treated plants differentially increased the concentration of elements with high nutritional value for human health, including Fe, Ca, Mg and K. These results suggest that the effects of WD among the legumes tested are species-specific and that WD could be an optimal candidate to grow high-yielding legumes with improved seed nutritional quality. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: A second life for mining waste as a potential soil remediation amendment

Authors: Salgado, L.1,2, Aparicio, L.1, Afif, E.3, Gallego, J.L.1, Forján, R.1,3


Abstract: Due to population growth and the expansion of industry, mining, a key component in societal development, is expected to assume an even more significant role in the future. However, the mining industry produces a large amount of waste which, if not properly managed, presents environmental risks. In line with the principles of Nature Based Solutions and Zero Waste policies, recycling waste in the form of soil amendments could achieve both objectives by restoring degraded areas and reducing landfill waste. Nowadays, sustainable mining practices give priority to the restoration of the mined area at the same time as mining operations are progressing. One way of doing this restoration would be through the aforementioned soil amendments. This study is a pilot-scale field experiment. This study focuses on the remediation of degraded soil using dunite-based amendments, either separately or in combination with phytoremediation, to evaluate their impact on Cu and Ni mobility in a mining soil. A secondary goal was to look at how these amendments affect soil factors and vegetation. According to the findings, these amendments—particularly those that contained compost—successfully decreased the concentrations of available Cu and nNi in the soil. Composting significantly enhanced the soil's organic content, promoting healthier plant growth and greater biomass. The plants showed phytostabilising capacity for Cu and Ni in the soil treated with the amendments. In conclusion, dunite-based amendments combined with organic amendments could be a promising strategy to remediate contaminated mining soils respecting the principles of the NBS and Zero Waste guidelines. This would fulfil two key objectives in today's society, namely the remediation of degraded soils and the recycling or reduction of waste production through waste circularity.

 

Title: Critical review: Sustainable soil improvement and stabilisation techniques on floodplains for new-build houses

Authors: Hosannah Mwaungulu 1, Dr Jonathan Oti 2 , Prof John Kinuthia 3, and Dr Paul Ryall 4,

Abstract: The perception of flood risk can be explained as a component of the social factors, which interact with the geographic context to create flood exposure at floodplains across the globe. While living on floodplains is a chosen lifestyle, for several others, resettlements is not an option. The key hindrance however, of building in most floodplains is their geological incompetence, as the existing soils often lack suitable engineering characteristics. In Nsanje, Malawi, there are some reported cases of recurring fluvial flooding that is responsible for residential property damage. To support, better planning and design decision making for building new flood resilient residential properties at/near the Nsanje floodplains for landowners. This review aims to assess prospects of cost-effective soil improvement and stabilisation techniques such as vegetation-based soil remediation alongside soil stabilisation using waste materials. This research will directly inform the foundation detail to ensure general structural integrity and resilience against flood induced soil erosion.

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