Special Issue "Safe Use of Composts in Urban Gardening"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Science and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Remigio Paradelo Núñez
Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Edafoloxía e Química Agrícola, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Interests: soil; compost; trace elements; soil contamination; waste management; urban soils; soil remediation
Dr. María Teresa Barral Silva

Guest Editor
Departamento de Edafoloxía e Química Agrícola, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Interests: Soil quality; soil pollution; sediment pollution; heavy metals in the environment; arsenic; river biofilms; waste reutization; compost

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Urban waste management through composting and utilization of compost in the green areas of the city are gaining attention with the worldwide increase of urbanization and interest for urban agriculture. In a moment where the amounts of urban wastes are increasing in association to the rise of urban population, composting allows to manage the increasing amounts of organic waste produced in urban areas in a simple and efficient way. In this way, using the composts as amendments in urban soils or for the construction of green roofs contribute to closing the circle of organic waste in the cities. Compost has positive effects on soils, improving soil conditions for plant growth, decreasing erosion risk, increasing biological activity or reducing the mobility of some pollutants. However, the use of composts produced from urban wastes can raise environmental and safety concerns, as they may be the source of contaminants such as potentially toxic trace elements, organic pollutants, plastics or microorganisms. This concern is particularly relevant when composts are employed in soils used for food production.

This Special Issue seeks research papers on the various environmental aspects of the use of compost in the urban environment. Papers dealing with the presence and behavior of contaminants in urban soils amended with compost or in green roofs constructed with compost, as well as studies on transference of different pollutants to plants and the food chain are welcome. We also encourage the submission of reports of practical experiences on the integration of organic waste management strategies into urban agriculture systems and urban soil protection schemes. Submissions reporting results from different places around the world are particularly welcome, in order to obtain a worldwide perspective of this subject.

Dr. Remigio Paradelo Núñez
Dr. María Teresa Barral Silva
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 papers will be 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. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • compost
  • trace elements
  • urban soils
  • urban agriculture
  • plant uptake
  • green roof
  • soil pollution
  • health risk

Published Papers (6 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle
Potential of Technosols Created with Urban By-Products for Rooftop Edible Production
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3210; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093210 - 05 May 2020
Abstract
Urban agriculture is sprouting throughout the world nowadays. New forms of urban agriculture are observed such as rooftop farming. In the case of low-tech rooftop farming projects, based on recycled urban waste, one of the key issues is the type of substrate used, [...] Read more.
Urban agriculture is sprouting throughout the world nowadays. New forms of urban agriculture are observed such as rooftop farming. In the case of low-tech rooftop farming projects, based on recycled urban waste, one of the key issues is the type of substrate used, as it determines the functions and ecosystem services delivered by the green roof. Using a five year experimental trial, we quantified the food production potential of Technosols created only with urban wastes (green waste compost, crushed wood, spent mushroom), as well as the soil fertility and the potential contamination of food products. Regarding food production, our cropping system showed promising results across the five years, in relation with the high fertility of the Technosols. This fertility was maintained, as well as the nutrients stocks after five cropping years. Most of the edible crops had trace metals contents below existing norms for toxic trace metals with nevertheless a concern regarding certain some trace metals such as Zn and Cu. There was no trace metal accumulation in the Technosols over time except for Zn. This study confirmed that constructing Technosols only from urban wastes is a suitable and efficient solution to design rooftops for edible production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safe Use of Composts in Urban Gardening)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Development of Technologies for Local Composting of Food Waste from Universities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093153 - 01 May 2020
Abstract
The amount of biowaste generated by university canteens (BWUC) in the faculties of the University of A Coruña (UDC) varies between 6 and 100 kg/day. In addition, the gardening services of the campus generate even higher amounts of garden waste (GrW), including pruning, [...] Read more.
The amount of biowaste generated by university canteens (BWUC) in the faculties of the University of A Coruña (UDC) varies between 6 and 100 kg/day. In addition, the gardening services of the campus generate even higher amounts of garden waste (GrW), including pruning, which, once crushed, serves as bulking material for composting the biowaste from the canteens. Decentralized composting has been chosen with the aim of producing high quality organic fertilizers for university urban gardens while reducing the environmental burdens of both waste management and agricultural practice. Small static home composters of 340 L (SHC) for smaller amounts of generation (up to 20 kg BWUC/day) were used, while, for faculties of higher generation (up to 40 kg BWUC/day on average), the first composting stage was carried out in a closed and dynamic composter (DC). The dynamic composter was designed and built specifically for this project and its features were improved and optimized throughout the study. The pilot project was carried out in two centers of the UDC, which are known as the Philology Faculty (PF) and the School of Architecture (SA). All the organic waste generated by the canteens of these two colleges from January 2011 to July 2011 (approximately 3000 kg) was treated. Composting in SHC included a thermophilic phase that extended one month beyond the loading period for which thermophilic temperatures were also recorded. The use of the DC as the first stage in combination with static composters (SC) for the maturation stage reduced the overall thermophilic phase to 6–8 weeks. The complete maturation (Rottegrade class IV-V) was achieved after about four months in SHC and after two months when using the combined DC-SC system, if the right conditions of moisture were maintained. The chemical quality of the compost produced was compatible with Class A of Spanish legislation (equivalent to organic farmer quality) and the C/N ratio ranged from 9 to 15 depending on the relation BWUC:GrW. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safe Use of Composts in Urban Gardening)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Heavy Metal Uptake of Lettuce and Ryegrass from Urban Waste Composts
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(8), 2887; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17082887 - 22 Apr 2020
Abstract
Interest in using urban waste composts as amendments in urban agriculture is growing nowadays. However, concerns about the potential transference of pollutants present in urban waste to the food chain are very relevant when they are recycled for food or animal feed production. [...] Read more.
Interest in using urban waste composts as amendments in urban agriculture is growing nowadays. However, concerns about the potential transference of pollutants present in urban waste to the food chain are very relevant when they are recycled for food or animal feed production. Thus, for the safe use of urban waste composts, it has to be assured that no risk of metal transference to plants from compost exists. In this work, the transference of heavy metals from urban waste composts to plants has been studied in an experiment with lettuce and Italian ryegrass, grown in substrates based on five metal-rich composts and a manure vermicompost (included for comparison). A two-month pot experiment was performed under controlled light and temperature conditions, and plant growth and uptake of Cu, Pb, Cd and Zn were analyzed. For both species, the concentration of metals in plant tissue followed the sequence Zn > Cu >> Pb ≈ Cd, the same as the metal concentrations in four out of the five composts. Plant concentrations of Zn, Cu and Cd increased with their concentrations in compost, whereas this relation was not observed for Pb. The ratio between element concentration in plant and compost were much higher for Zn, Cd and Cu than for Pb, showing the lower bioavailability of Pb with respect to other metals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safe Use of Composts in Urban Gardening)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Quick Analysis of Organic Amendments via Portable X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4317; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224317 - 06 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The determination of heavy metals in soils and organic amendments, such as compost, manure, biofertilizer, and sludge, generally involves the digestion of samples with aqua regia, and the determination of those in the solution using various techniques. Portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) has [...] Read more.
The determination of heavy metals in soils and organic amendments, such as compost, manure, biofertilizer, and sludge, generally involves the digestion of samples with aqua regia, and the determination of those in the solution using various techniques. Portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) has many advantages in relation to traditional analytical techniques. However, PXRF determines the total elemental content and, until now, its use for the analysis of organic amendments has been limited. The objective of this work is the calibration of a PXRF instrument to determine the aqua regia-soluble elemental contents directly in solid samples of organic amendments. Our proposal will avoid the digestion step and the use of other laboratory techniques. Using a training set of samples, calibration functions were obtained that allow the determination of the aqua regia-soluble contents from the PXRF readings of total contents. The calibration functions (obtained by multiple linear regression) allowed the quantitative determination of the aqua regia-soluble contents of Fe, K, P, S, Zn, Cu, Pb, Sr, Cr, and Mn, as well as the organic matter content and a semi-quantitative assessment of Al, Ca, V, Ba, Ni, and As contents. The readings of Si, Fe, Al, Ca, K, or S were used as correction factors, indicating that the calibrations functions found are truly based on the chemical composition of the sample matrix. This study will allow a fast, cheap, and reliable field analysis of organic amendments and of other biomass-based materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safe Use of Composts in Urban Gardening)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Measuring the Fate of Compost-Derived Phosphorus in Native Soil below Urban Gardens
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3998; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203998 - 19 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The heavy reliance on compost inputs in urban gardening provides opportunities to recycle nutrients from the urban waste stream, but also creates potential for buildup and loss of soil phosphorus (P). We previously documented P in leachate from raised-bed garden plots in which [...] Read more.
The heavy reliance on compost inputs in urban gardening provides opportunities to recycle nutrients from the urban waste stream, but also creates potential for buildup and loss of soil phosphorus (P). We previously documented P in leachate from raised-bed garden plots in which compost had been applied, but the fate of this P is not known. Here, we measured P concentrations in soils below four or six-year-old urban garden plots that were established for research. We hypothesize that the soil P concentration and depth of P penetration will increase over time after gardens are established. Soil cores were collected in five garden plots of each age and quantified for inorganic weakly exchangeable P. Inorganic weakly exchangeable P was significantly elevated in native soil below garden plots (>35 cm deep) relative to reference soil profiles, and excess P decreased with increasing depth, although differences between garden plots of different ages were not significant. Our analysis shows that excess P from compost accumulates in native soil below urban garden plots. While urban agriculture has the potential to recycle P in urban ecosystems, over-application of compost has the potential to contribute to soil and water pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safe Use of Composts in Urban Gardening)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Compost Quality Recommendations for Remediating Urban Soils
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(17), 3191; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173191 - 01 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Poor soil health is a critical problem in many urban landscapes. Degraded soil restricts plant growth and microorganism activity, limiting the ability of urban landscapes to perform much needed ecosystem services. Incorporation of approximately 33% compost by volume into degraded soil has been [...] Read more.
Poor soil health is a critical problem in many urban landscapes. Degraded soil restricts plant growth and microorganism activity, limiting the ability of urban landscapes to perform much needed ecosystem services. Incorporation of approximately 33% compost by volume into degraded soil has been proven to improve soil health and structure over time while avoiding the financial and environmental costs of importing soil mixes from elsewhere. However, additions of high volumes of compost could potentially increase the risk of nutrient loss through leaching and runoff. The objective of our study was to consider the effects of different compost amendments on soil health, plant health and susceptibility to nutrient leaching in order to identify ranges of acceptable compost characteristics that could be used for soil remediation in the urban landscape. A bioassay was conducted with Phaseolus vulgaris (Bush Bean) to measure the effect of nine composts from different feedstocks on various plant health parameters. Leachate was collected prior to planting to measure nutrient loss from each treatment. All compost amendments were found to improve soil health. Nutrient-rich, manure-based composts produced the greatest plant growth, but also leached high concentrations of nitrate and phosphorus. Some treatments provided sufficient nutrients for plant growth without excess nutrient loss. When incorporating as much as 33% compost by volume into a landscape bed, the optimal compost will generally have a C:N ratio of 10–20, P-content <1.0% and a soluble salt content between 1.0 and 3.5 mmhos/cm. These recommendations should ensure optimal plant and soil health and minimize nutrient leaching. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safe Use of Composts in Urban Gardening)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop