Biotech Updates

Artificial Soils From Sewage Sludge and Metallurgical Waste

March 23, 2012

Technosoils or artificial soils from sludge, ash and barley straw have been developed by Fenxia Yao and mentors Drs. Marta Camps and Felipe Macías of the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The development of technosoils hope to serve as an alternative to peat, which is a non-renewable organic material in soils.

The formulated soil contains various components at proportions: 5% of foundry sand, 10% of Linz-Donawitz slag, 2% of barley straw, 23% or 33% of combustion ash, and 60% or 50% of sewage sludge. Three different types of sludge were employed: anaerobic, aerobic, and lime-treated aerobic sludge. Results show that Technosols made from mixtures in which anaerobic sludge was used as the organic component yielded the highest plant material compared to the other treatments. They also found that nutrient availability is highest and bioavailability of heavy metals has been decreased in this treatment .

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