Compost has been recently suggested as an alternative to peat for the preparation of growing substrates in soilless cultivation systems. However, some physico-chemical properties of compostmay reduce plant performance and endanger the quality of productions, in particular for possible heavy metal accumulation in edible parts. This study aims at evaluating the suitability of a municipal solid waste compost (MSWC) and a sewage sludge compost (SSC) as components of growing media for the soilless cultivation of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Heavy metal content of SSC complied with legislation limits but, inMSWC, it exceeded (Cu, Pb) or was very close (Cd, Zn) to safe limits. A greenhouse experiment was carried out by cultivating four lettuce cultivars ("Maximus", "Murai", "Patagonia" and "Aleppo") in pots containing a mixture of MSWC and perlite (MSWC + P), SSC and perlite (SSC + P), or peat and perlite (peat + P), the latter used as control. Plant biometric parameters measured after 72 days of growth revealed that the yield of plants cultivated on SSC + P was similar to control plants, independently of the cultivar. Conversely, MSWC + P suppressed in general the biomass production, especially for Murai and Patagonia cultivars. Compared to peat + P, both compost-based substrates reduced the leaf accumulation of heavy metals, with a major effect in Maximus plants. The levels of Cd and Pb in the edible part were always below the safe limits imposed by European regulation. Therefore, risks of heavy metal intake in food chain associated with the replacement of peat with compost in the growing media are negligible, even when a compost with a significant amount of heavy metals is used. Besides compost quality monitoring, also an appropriate varietal choice is crucial to obtain good yields and safe products.

Effects of municipal solid waste- and sewage sludge-compost-based growing media on the yield and heavy metal content of four lettuce cultivars

Gattullo, Concetta Eliana;Mininni, Carlo;Allegretta, Ignazio;Terzano, Roberto
2017-01-01

Abstract

Compost has been recently suggested as an alternative to peat for the preparation of growing substrates in soilless cultivation systems. However, some physico-chemical properties of compostmay reduce plant performance and endanger the quality of productions, in particular for possible heavy metal accumulation in edible parts. This study aims at evaluating the suitability of a municipal solid waste compost (MSWC) and a sewage sludge compost (SSC) as components of growing media for the soilless cultivation of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Heavy metal content of SSC complied with legislation limits but, inMSWC, it exceeded (Cu, Pb) or was very close (Cd, Zn) to safe limits. A greenhouse experiment was carried out by cultivating four lettuce cultivars ("Maximus", "Murai", "Patagonia" and "Aleppo") in pots containing a mixture of MSWC and perlite (MSWC + P), SSC and perlite (SSC + P), or peat and perlite (peat + P), the latter used as control. Plant biometric parameters measured after 72 days of growth revealed that the yield of plants cultivated on SSC + P was similar to control plants, independently of the cultivar. Conversely, MSWC + P suppressed in general the biomass production, especially for Murai and Patagonia cultivars. Compared to peat + P, both compost-based substrates reduced the leaf accumulation of heavy metals, with a major effect in Maximus plants. The levels of Cd and Pb in the edible part were always below the safe limits imposed by European regulation. Therefore, risks of heavy metal intake in food chain associated with the replacement of peat with compost in the growing media are negligible, even when a compost with a significant amount of heavy metals is used. Besides compost quality monitoring, also an appropriate varietal choice is crucial to obtain good yields and safe products.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11586/204332
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