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Toxic Effect Of Cadmium And Nickel On Soil Enzymes And The Influence Of Adding Sewage Sludge

J. Moreno, C. García, T. Hernández
Published 2003 · Chemistry

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Summary Sewage sludge is increasingly used as an organic amendment to soil, especially to soil containing little organic matter. However, little is known about the utility of this organic amendment in the reclamation of soil polluted with heavy metals. We studied the effects of adding sewage sludge on enzymatic activities of a semi-arid soil contaminated with Cd or Ni in the laboratory. The activities of urease, phosphatase, β-glucosidase and protease-BAA were measured in soil containing concentrations of Cd or Ni in the range 0–8000 mg kg−1 soil, and their inhibition was compared with those of the enzymatic activities in the same soil amended with sewage sludge and containing similar concentrations of the heavy metals. The inhibition was tested for three different incubation times to determine changes in the effect of the heavy metals on hydrolase activity with the time elapsed after contamination. Ecological dose (ED) values of Cd and Ni were calculated from three mathematical models which described the inhibition of the enzymatic activities with increasing concentrations of heavy metal in the soil. For urease and phosphatase activities, the ED values for Cd and Ni increased after application of sewage sludge to soil, indicating a decrease in Cd and Ni toxicity. The other two enzymes (β-glucosidase and protease-BAA) were less sensitive to Cd or Ni contamination, and it was more difficult to determine whether addition of sewage sludge had affected the inhibition of these enzymes by the heavy metals.
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