Effect of compost addition on arsenic uptake, morphological and physiological attributes of maize plants grown in contrasting soils

Tariq Mehmood, Irshad Bibi, Muhammad Shahid, Nabeel Khan Niazi, Behzad Murtaza, Hailong Wang, Yong Sik Ok, Binoy Sarkar, Muhammad Tariq Javed, Ghulam Murtaza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Contamination of soils with arsenic (As) represents a global environmental and health issue considering the entrance of toxic As in the human food chain. Although partially understood, addition of compost for the remediation of As-contaminated soils may result in distinct effects on plant growth and physiological attributes depending on compost-mediated potential mobility/sequestration of As in soils. This study explores the role of compost addition (C; 0, 1 and 2.5%) on morphological and gas exchange attributes and photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll contents) of maize plants under As stress (0, 40, 80, 120 mg kg− 1), as well as soil As immobilization/mobilization in a pot experiment, using two contrasting soils. Results revealed that, in Narwala (sandy loam) soil, the addition of compost decreased shoot As concentration of maize plants (p < 0.05; 4.01–13.7 mg kg− 1 dry weight (DW)), notably at C2.5 treatment, with significant improvement in shoot dry biomass, gas exchange attributes and chlorophyll (a and b) contents, i.e., 1.33–1.82, 1.20–2.65 and 1.34–1.66 times higher, respectively, over C0 at all As levels. Contrastingly, in Shahkot (clay loam) soil, C2.5 treatment increased shoot As concentration (p < 0.05; 7.02–17.3 mg kg− 1 DW), and as such reduced the shoot dry biomass, gas exchange attributes and chlorophyll contents, compared to the control – rather C1 treatment was more effective and exhibited positive effect than C2.5. Considerably, at C2.5 treatment, phosphate extractable (bioavailable) soil As concentration was also found to be greater in the (post-experiment) Shahkot soil than that of Narwala soil (0.40–3.82 vs. 0.19–1.51 mg kg− 1, respectively). This study advanced our understanding to resolve the complex compost-As interactions in As-contaminated soils, which are imperative to understand for developing the effective and soil-specific remediation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geochemical Exploration
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are thankful to the Higher Education Commission, Pakistan (HEC/2012/2767), International Foundation for Science (IFS, Sweden; W/5698-1) and Grand Challenges Canada – Stars in Global Health (GCC 0433-01) for financial support. Drs Nabeel Khan Niazi and Irshad Bibi are thankful to the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (Pakistan) and the University of Bremen (Germany).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Arsenic phytotoxicity
  • Bioavailability
  • Contamination
  • Organic amendments
  • Remediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Economic Geology


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