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Mass balance and long-term soil accumulation of trace elements in arable crop systems amended with urban composts or cattle manure during 17 years

Abstract : Organic waste products (OWP) application to crop lands makes possible nutrients recycling. However, it can result in long-term accumulation of trace elements (TE) in soils. The present study aimed at (i) assessing the impact of regular applications of urban composts and manure on the TE contents of topsoils and crops in a long-term field experiment, (ii) comparing the TE mass balances with the stock variations of TE in soils, and (iii) proposing a prospective evaluation of this practice, based on estimated soil safe threshold values and simulations of soil TE accumulation for 100 years. In the long-term field experiment, physico-chemical properties and TE contents (Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb and Zn) have been measured in OWP, soils, plants and leaching waters for the period 1998–2015, and used for mass balance calculations and long-term simulations of TE accumulations. The composts of green wastes and sludge (GWS) and of municipal solid waste (MSW) were the OWP with the largest TE contents, while the farmyard manure tended to have the lowest. Repeated application of OWP led to significant accumulation of Zn and Cu in the topsoil layer (not for Cr, Cd, Hg, Ni, Pb), especially with GWS, without overpassing calculated protective threshold values. No effect of repeated application of OWP has been observed on TE contents in grains (wheat, maize, barley). The positive mass balance has been dominated by the input flux of TE through OWP and resulted in the observed increases of soil stocks for Cu and Zn. Prospective simulation of soil content evolution until 2100 showed that soil content reached 0.4 mg Cd kg−1 soil (GWS, MSW), 38 mg Cu kg−1 soil (GWS) and 109 mg Zn kg−1 soil (GWS), which remained lower than protective threshold values.
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Aurélia Marcelline Michaud, Philippe Cambier, Valerie Sappin-Didier, Valentin Deltreil, Vincent Mercier, et al.. Mass balance and long-term soil accumulation of trace elements in arable crop systems amended with urban composts or cattle manure during 17 years. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Springer Verlag, 2020, 27, pp.5367-5386. ⟨10.1007/s11356-019-07166-8⟩. ⟨hal-02624633⟩

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