Influence of selected nutrients and toxic elements in fly ashes used as fertilizers on the growth of various green plants

Kröppl, M. (Speaker), Lanzerstorfer, C. (Speaker), Michaela Zeiner (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Biomass is increasingly used for the generation of heat and electricity. During the combustion the organic material is decomposed to carbon dioxide and water. The remaining ashes contain valuable plant nutrients like N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, and other trace elements. By returning these ashes to the soil where biomass can grow again would be ideal for closing the element cycle. As biomass ashes unfortunately also contain heavy metals which can be harmful to plants, animals and men, their application as fertilizers in agriculture is regulated through limit concentrations given by legislation. In order to test the bioavailability of harmful and useful elements, green plants (e.g. green salad) have been grown in laboratory experiments and ashes have been applied. Plants have been grown in a pot in a room with bright light. Distilled water has been added in the amount necessary for the plants. The plant growth has been observed regularly. Additionally a control group without ash application was set up. After growth, all plants were harvested. Plants and earth were dried. All samples were homogenized and then digested by microwave assisted digestion. The concentrations of the elements of interest (e.g. cadmium (harmful already in low concentrations), potassium (nutrient) and zinc (trace element for plants in low concentrations)) have then been determined with inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES). Furthermore the influence of the application mode (on or in the soil) of the ashes has been investigated. Keywords: biomass ash, plant growth, ICP-OES
Period21 Jun 2011
Event titleTrace Elements in Food 4: null
Event typeConference
LocationAberdeen, United Kingdom