Biochar do not disrupt key soil functions in a temperate corn-based agroecosystem

Domene X, Marks E, Hanley K, Enders A, Lehmann J (2012) Biochar do not disrupt key soil functions in a temperate corn-based agroecosystem (Póster). Workshop Biochar as option for sustainable resource management: An European Perspective - EU COST Action TD 1107. Chania, Greece, 24-25 September 2012.

Biochar and soil structure: micromorphological identification for image analyses of porosity

Marks E, Domene X, Poch RM (2012) Biochar and soil structure: micromorphological identification for image analyses of porosity (Póster). 14th International Working Meeting on Soil Micromorphology. Lleida, 8-14 July 2012.

Using soil microarthropod community testing to increase ecological relevance of effect data in pesticide risk assessment

Chelinho S, Domene X, Natal-da-Luz T, Andrés P, Norte C, Rufino C, Lopes I, Cachada A, Espindola E, Ribeiro R, Duarte AC, Sousa JP 2012 Using soil microarthropod community testing to increase ecological relevance of effect data in pesticide risk assessment (Presentación oral) SETAC World Congress/SETAC Europe 22nd Annual Meeting. Berlin, Germany, 20-x24 May 2012.

Influence of soil properties on the performance of Folsomia candida: Implications for its use in soil ecotoxicology testing

Domene X., Chelinho S., Campana P., Natal-da-Luz T., Alcañiz J.M., Andrés P., Römbke J., Sousa P. (2011) Influence of soil properties on the performance of Folsomia candida: Implications for its use in soil ecotoxicology testing. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 30: 1497-1505.
Link
Doi: 10.1002/etc.533

Abstract:

Nineteen Mediterranean natural soils with a wide range of properties and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) artificial soil were used to assess the influence of soil properties on the results of avoidance and reproduction tests carried out with the soil collembolan species Folsomia candida. Compared to natural soils, the OECD soil was mostly rejected by individuals when a natural soil was offered in avoidance tests, and the number of offspring produced was generally lower than the one obtained in natural soils. None of the soil properties assessed showed a significant influence on the avoidance behavior. More precisely, only soil moisture was included in the model explaining the avoidance response (avoidance increased with increasing differences in moisture), but its contribution was marginally not significant. The model derived explained only 16% of the variance in avoidance response. On the contrary, several soil properties significantly influenced reproduction (number of offspring increased with increasing moisture content, increasing coarse texture, and decreasing nitrogen content). In this case, the model explained 45% of the variance in reproduction. These results, together with the fact that most of the selected soils fulfilled the validity criteria in both avoidance and reproduction tests, confirm the literature experience showing that this species is relatively insensitive to soil properties and hence highly suitable to be used in ecotoxicological tests with natural soils. In addition, our study highlights the need for accuracy in soil moisture adjustment in soil ecotoxicological tests with this species. Otherwise, results of both avoidance and reproduction tests might be biased. © 2011 SETAC.

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Soil bioassays as tools for sludge compost quality assessment

Domene X., Solà L., Ramírez W., Alcañiz J.M., Andrés P. (2011) Soil bioassays as tools for sludge compost quality assessment. Waste Management. 31: 512-522.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2010.10.013

Abstract:

Composting is a waste management technology that is becoming more widespread as a response to the increasing production of sewage sludge and the pressure for its reuse in soil. In this study, different bioassays (plant germination, earthworm survival, biomass and reproduction, and collembolan survival and reproduction) were assessed for their usefulness in the compost quality assessment. Compost samples, from two different composting plants, were taken along the composting process, which were characterized and submitted to bioassays (plant germination and collembolan and earthworm performance). Results from our study indicate that the noxious effects of some of the compost samples observed in bioassays are related to the low organic matter stability of composts and the enhanced release of decomposition endproducts, with the exception of earthworms, which are favored. Plant germination and collembolan reproduction inhibition was generally associated with uncomposted sludge, while earthworm total biomass and reproduction were enhanced by these materials. On the other hand, earthworm and collembolan survival were unaffected by the degree of composting of the wastes. However, this pattern was clear in one of the composting procedures assessed, but less in the other, where the release of decomposition endproducts was lower due to its higher stability, indicating the sensitivity and usefulness of bioassays for the quality assessment of composts. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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Improving ecological risk assessment in the Mediterranean area: selection of reference soils and evaluating the influence of soil properties on avoidance and reproduction of the oligochaetes Eisenia andrei and Enchytraeus crypticus.

Chelinho S, Domene X, Campana P, Natal-da-Luz T, Scheffczyk A, Rombke J, Andrés P, Sousa JP (2011) Improving ecological risk assessment in the Mediterranean area: selection of reference soils and evaluating the influence of soil properties on avoidance and reproduction of the oligochaetes Eisenia andrei and Enchytraeus crypticus. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 30: 1050–1058.

Effects of nonylphenol on a soil community using microcosms

Domene X., Chelinho S., Sousa J.P. (2010) Effects of nonylphenol on a soil community using microcosms. Journal of Soils and Sediments. 10: 556-567.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s11368-009-0167-9

Abstract:

Purpose: Nonylphenol polyethoxylates (NPEOs) are a group of surfactants known to be toxic and able to mimic estrogen compounds and thus interfere with the action of an animal's endogenous hormones. NPEOs are easily biodegraded in the environment, but the last end product, nonylphenol (NP), is the most toxic and recalcitrant form and hence can have a longer half-life in the environment. Despite the fact that most NP is finally degraded, a small fraction may remain in soil for longer periods. In soils, the application of sewage sludge is the main source of NPEOs. The aim of this study is to provide data on the effects of NP on a simplified soil invertebrate community since only a few studies using single-species bioassays are available for terrestrial ecosystems in comparison with aquatic ecosystems. Materials and methods: In our study, we assessed the effect of increasing NP concentrations (0, 10, 30, 90, and 270 mg NP kg-1) in soil microcosms containing a simplified soil community consisting of natural microorganisms, a primary producer (an oat seedling of Avena sativa), several consumers (the isopod Porcellionides sexfasciatus, the enchytraeid Enchytraeus crypticus, and the collembolans Folsomia candida, Ceratophysella (Hypogastrura) denticulata, and Proisotoma minuta), and a predator species (the mite Hypoaspis aculeifer). The effects on the different taxa of the different NP concentrations were assessed over three sampling dates (28, 56, and 112 days) using the principal response curves method. Results and discussion: The soil community did not change significantly at concentrations below 90 mg NP kg-1, which was selected as the nonobserved effect concentration (NOEC). The highest concentration (270 mg NP kg-1) changed the community significantly after 28 and 56 days, but this effect disappeared after 112 days, in accordance with the known rapid biodegradation of this compound in soil. Conclusions: Taking into account the usual NP concentrations in soils with repeated applications of sludge, the environmental risk of NP to soils seems to be limited because the derived NOEC was clearly above the usual concentrations in soil reported in the literature. However, the use of highly polluted sludges or accidental spillages, together with the possible pollution exportation by runoff to aquatic ecosystems, which are highly sensitive to NP pollution, recommend the careful monitoring of this chemical in the environment. © Springer-Verlag 2010.

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Role of soil properties in sewage sludge toxicity to soil collembolans

Domene X., Colón J., Uras M.V., Izquierdo R., Àvila A., Alcañiz J.M. (2010) Role of soil properties in sewage sludge toxicity to soil collembolans. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 42: 1982-1990.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2010.07.019

Abstract:

Soil properties are one of the most important factors explaining the different toxicity results found in different soils. Although there is knowledge about the role of soil properties on the toxicity of individual chemicals, not much is known about its relevance for sewage sludge amendments. In particular little is known about the effect of soil properties on the toxicity modulation of these complex wastes. In addition, in most studies on sewage sludges the identity of the main substances linked to the toxicity and the influence of soil properties on their bioavailability remains unknown.In this study, the toxicity of a sewage sludge to the soil collembolan Folsomia candida was assessed in nine natural soils from agricultural, grassland and woodland sites, together with the OECD soil. Correlations between the relative toxicity of sludge for collembolans in the different soils and their physical and chemical soil properties were assessed in order to identify the main compounds responsible for the effects observed. Furthermore, the relationships between the toxic effects to collembolans and water-soluble ions released by sludge, pH and electric conductivity were also assessed, together with the modulating effects of soil properties.Sludge toxicity was directly linked to the water extractable ammonium, which explained most of the mortality of the collembolans, and part of the inhibition of reproduction. For the last endpoint, nitrite also contributed significantly to the inhibition observed. The varied levels in water extractable ammonium in the different soils at equal dosages seem to be, in turn, modulated by some soil properties. Higher organic carbon contents were associated with lower toxicity of sludge, both for survival and reproduction, probably related to its higher ammonium sorption capacity. In addition, for reproduction, increasing the C/N ratio and pH appeared to increase the toxicity, probably due to both the greater difficultly in nitrification and the known unsuitability of alkaline soils for this species. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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Bioassays prove the suitability of mining debris mixed with sewage sludge for land reclamation purposes.

Domene X, Mattana S, Ramírez W, Colón J, Jiménez P, Balanyà T, Alcañiz JM, Bonmatí M (2010) Bioassays prove the suitability of mining debris mixed with sewage sludge for land reclamation purposes. Journal of Soils Sediments 10: 30-44. doi 10.1007/s11368-009-0073-1.

Bioassays prove the suitability of mining debris mixed with sewage sludge for land reclamation purposes

Domene X., Mattana S., Ramírez W., Colón J., Jiménez P., Balanyà T., Alcañiz J.M., Bonmatí M. (2009) Bioassays prove the suitability of mining debris mixed with sewage sludge for land reclamation purposes. Journal of Soils and Sediments. 10: 30-44.
Link
Doi: 10.1007/s11368-009-0073-1

Abstract:

Background, aim, and scope: Mining activities disturb land and reduce its capacity to support a complete functional ecosystem. Reclamation activities in this case are not easy due to the large amount of soil required. This is why mining debris are usually used as surrogate of soil, despite their unsuitable physicochemical properties. However, these properties can be improved with the amendment using an organic source, usually sewage sludge. Nevertheless, the use of sludge might lead to impacts on soil and water ecosystems because of its physicochemical properties and pollutant content. The aim of this study is to assess the suitability of the use of mining debris amended with sewage sludge as practice for the reclamation of land degraded by limestone-quarrying activities. Materials and methods: Two different types of mining debris from the same limestone quarry and six different types of composted or thermally dried sewage sludge were studied. A laboratory assessment was carried out by means of standardized bioassays of sludges, together with a field assessment carried out in lysimeters filled with debris-sludge mixtures. The field assessment was carried out using both the soil-waste mixtures, amended with dosages similar to those used for restoration purposes and their corresponding leachates. The variation of physicochemical properties and the outcomes of different bioassays (soil microorganisms biomass and respiration, enzymatic activities, plant emergence and growth, collembolan survival and reproduction, and the Microtox assay) were used as indicators of fertilizing or ecotoxicological effects. Results: The mining debris used in our study showed a poor capacity for biological recovery, as shown by the lower biological outcomes measured in control lysimeters compared to lysimeters amended with sludge. The addition of sludge improved debris just before the sludge application in terms of its physicochemical and biological properties (microorganism's biomass, respiration and enzymatic activities) which, in some cases, persisted after a year. Conversely, in some sludges, an inhibition in soil collembolans was observed just before the amendment, but any inhibitory effect disappeared after a year. Concerning the leachates obtained from field lysimeters after a week and a year, no inhibitory effects were detectable for aquatic bacteria. Discussion: The effects observed on some of the measured biological endpoints, both in laboratory and field assays, were mainly mediated by physicochemical parameters related to a low stability of organic matter, but in the opposite sense depending on the organism considered. Microbial parameters were enhanced when the organic matter added had a low stability (high content in labile organic matter) but, on the other hand, collembolan performance was negatively affected. The lack of toxicity of leachates indicates a low risk for groundwaters of this reclamation practice. Conclusions: The results of this study support the use of mining debris mixed with sludge for land reclamation of degraded land by quarrying. The addition of sludge allowed a quick plant cover re-establishment and provided a suitable habitat for soil biota because no long-term ecotoxicological risks were observed neither for soils nor groundwaters. The results also indicate that the environmental risk of sludges might be reduced using sludges with a high content in stable organic matter. Recommendations and perspectives: The use of mining debris mixed with sewage sludges for mining reclamation purposes is suitable since long-term ecotoxicological risks were not observed. In addition, the results support the suitability of bioassays for the prediction of the success or risk of specific land reclamation practices in order to avoid unsuccessful attempts. © Springer-Verlag 2009.

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