Sewage sludge/biosolids are by-wastes of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment. As sources of nutrients (C, N, P) they are widely used in intensive farming where large supplementation of organic matter to maintain fertility and enhance crop yields is needed. However, according to the report of European Commission published in 2010, only 39% of produced sewage sludge is recycled into agriculture in the European Union. This situation occurs mainly due to the fact, that the sewage sludge may contain a dangerous volume of different contaminants. For over decades, a great deal of attention has been focused on total concentration of few heavy metals and pathogenic bacteria Salmonella and Escherichia coli. The Sewage Sludge Directive (86/278/EEC) regulates the allowable limits of Zn, Cu, Ni, Pb, Cd, Cr and Hg and pathogens and allows for recovery of sludge on land under defined sanitary and environmentally sound conditions. In this paper, a review on quality of sewage sludge based on the publications after 2010 has been presented. Nowadays there are several papers focusing on new serious threats to human health and ecosystem occurring in sewage sludge - both chemicals (such as toxic trace elements - Se, Ag, Ti; nanoparticles; polyaromatic hydrocarbons; polychlorinated biphenyl; perfluorinated surfactants, polycyclic musks, siloxanes, pesticides, phenols, sweeteners, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, benzotriazoles) and biological traits (Legionella, Yersinia, Escherichia coli O157:H7).
The aim of the study was to determine the quality and quantity of siderophores produced by bacteria isolated from plants' roots. The second aim was to determine the effect of siderophores on plants growth (Festuca rubra L. and Brassica napus L.). The study was carried out using bacteria isolated from roots of: Arabidopsis thaliana L., F. rubra, and Agrostis capillaris L., growing on the heavy metals contaminated area. The chrome azurol sulfonate (CAS) test, Arnow's test for catechol siderophores, and Csaksy's test for hydroxamate siderophores were performed. Among the bacteria, 42 isolates (39%) had a positive result in the CAS. Endophytic bacteria were mostly producing the catechol siderophores. It was found that F. rubra is the plant which is linked with the highest number of siderophores producing bacteria. The highest concentration of siderophores was noted for ectorhizospheric bacteria associated with A. thaliana, hyperaccumulating plant. It was found that hydroxamate siderophores are mainly produced by ectorhizosphere and rhizoplane bacteria. The siderophores producing bacteria reduced the toxicity of metals and improved the phytoremediation. Siderophores treatment increased the growth of plants in the biological assay, growing on two different soils: one highly contaminated with heavy metals and the second strongly alkaline soil.
Sewage sludge, in particular from the food industry, is characterized by fertilizing properties, due to the high content of organic matter and nutrients. The application of sewage sludge causes an improvement of soil parameters as well as increase in cation exchange capacity, and thus stronger binding of cations in the soil environment, which involves the immobilization of nutrients and greater resistance to contamination. In a field experiment sewage sludge has been used as an additive to the soil supporting the phytoremediation process of land contaminated with heavy metals (Cd, Zn, and Pb) using trees species: Scots pine (Pinus silvestris L.), Norway spruce (Picea abies L.), and oak (Quercus robur L.). The aim of the research was to determine how the application of sewage sludge into the soil surface improves the phytoremediation process. The conducted field experiment demonstrated that selected trees like Scots pine and Norway spruce, because of its excellent adaptability, can be used in the remediation of soil. Oak should not be used in the phytoremediation process of soils contaminated with high concentrations of trace elements in the soil, because a significant amount of heavy metals was accumulated in the leaves of oak causing a risk of recontamination.
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