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IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 965: Sludge Biochar Amendment and Alfalfa Revegetation Improve Soil Physicochemical Properties and Increase Diversity of Soil Microbes in Soils from a Rare Earth Element Mining Wasteland

11 May 2018

IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 965: Sludge Biochar Amendment and Alfalfa Revegetation Improve Soil Physicochemical Properties and Increase Diversity of Soil Microbes in Soils from a Rare Earth Element Mining Wasteland

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15050965

Authors:
Caigui Luo
Yangwu Deng
Kazuyuki Inubushi
Jian Liang
Sipin Zhu
Zhenya Wei
Xiaobin Guo
Xianping Luo

Long-term unregulated mining of ion-adsorption clays (IAC) in China has resulted in severe ecological destruction and created large areas of wasteland in dire need of rehabilitation. Soil amendment and revegetation are two important means of rehabilitation of IAC mining wasteland. In this study, we used sludge biochar prepared by pyrolysis of municipal sewage sludge as a soil ameliorant, selected alfalfa as a revegetation plant, and conducted pot trials in a climate-controlled chamber. We investigated the effects of alfalfa revegetation, sludge biochar amendment, and their combined amendment on soil physicochemical properties in soil from an IAC mining wasteland as well as the impact of sludge biochar on plant growth. At the same time, we also assessed the impacts of these amendments on the soil microbial community by means of the Illumina Miseq sequences method. Results showed that alfalfa revegetation and sludge biochar both improved soil physicochemical properties and microbial community structure. When alfalfa revegetation and sludge biochar amendment were combined, we detected additive effects on the improvement of soil physicochemical properties as well as increases in the richness and diversity of bacterial and fungal communities. Redundancy analyses suggested that alfalfa revegetation and sludge biochar amendment significantly affected soil microbial community structure. Critical environmental factors consisted of soil available K, pH, organic matter, carbon–nitrogen ratio, bulk density, and total porosity. Sludge biochar amendment significantly promoted the growth of alfalfa and changed its root morphology. Combining alfalfa the revegetation with sludge biochar amendment may serve to not only achieve the revegetation of IAC mining wasteland, but also address the challenge of municipal sludge disposal by making the waste profitable.

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