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Field assessment of trace element uptake by six vegetables from N-Viro Soil

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A field experiment was conducted to measure the uptake of selected trace elements (Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn) by six vegetable crops (cabbage, carrot, dry bean, lettuce, potato, and tomato) from a single large (500 mt/ha) application of N-Viro Soil, an advanced alkaline stabilized biosolids product. Crops were grown for 3 yr (1993, 1994, 1995) after application of the biosolids in 1992. Differences among the metals for uptake by the different crops were consistent and were overall in the order: Zn > Cu > Ni > Cd > Pb. This reflects both the total soil content (Zn > Pb > Ni = Cu > Cd) and intrinsic solubilities of the metals in soil (Cd > Zn > Cu > Ni > Pb). Trace element plant uptake declined from 1993 to 1995. In general, lettuce, bean, and tomato had the highest relative trace element concentrations and cabbage the lowest, and the carrot and potato peels were elevated only in Pb compared with the flesh. Plant uptake response slopes were low compared with literature values and often negative, and the results suggest that large applications of the test material pose no threat to the food chain from trace element uptake by crops.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1997

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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