Evaluation of the efficiency of a phytostabilization process with biological indicators of soil health

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Received for publication January 7, 2009. A phytostabilization process that combined the addition of a synthetic (Calcinit + urea + PK14% + calcium carbonate) or organic (cow slurry) amendment with Lolium perenne L. growth was used to remediate a mine soil moderately contaminated with Zn, Pb, and Cd. The reduced toxicity caused by both amendments allowed the establishment of a healthy L. perenne vegetation cover that had a positive influence on soil properties, increasing the biomass, activity, and functional diversity of the soil microbial community. The beneficial effects of phytostabilization on soil properties were more accentuated in organically amended than in synthetically amended soils. Root-to-shoot translocation factors were smaller in amended versus control plants, indicating a reduction in the risk of metals entering the food chain through phytostabilization. The sensitivity, rapid response, and integrative character of biological indicators of soil health make them valuable tools for assessing the efficiency of metal phytostabilization processes.

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