Alleviating arsenic toxicity to plants in a simulated cover system with phosphate placement in topsoil and subsoil

Hossain M. Anawar, Paul Damon, Zed Rengel, David Jasper, Mark Tibbett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Revegetation of arsenic‐enriched mining wastes is challenging due to arsenic (As) toxicity to plants. Inorganic
Asis easily taken up by the cells of plant roots where it can disrupt plant metabolism partly due to itssimilarity
to phosphate ions. Arsenic toxicity may be alleviated by phosphorus (P) fertilisation partly due to the
analogous chemical characteristics of phosphate and arsenate ions, although this effect may vary in different
plant taxa.

Many mining cover systems employ a single layer, or multilayers, of soil or soil‐like material directly over
potential toxic waste material. We simulated this basic design in a glasshouse study by growing plants in a
layered system (notionally topsoil and subsoil) where we tested how As and P interacted by assessing the
effects of P fertilisation (in topsoil and subsoil) on alleviating toxicity of As placed in subsoil only (to mimic a
cover system).

Two contrasting plant species were used: a ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) and an Acacia species grown in the
mining area (Acacia ancistrocarpa). The growth of both plant species decreased in line with increased As
concentrations in subsoil irrespective of high or low P treatments to either topsoil or subsoil. Overall we found
that P application in topsoil (with Asin the subsoil) was more effective than subsoil P application forsustaining
improved growth of plants by alleviating As toxicity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMine Closure 2016: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Mine Closure
EditorsAndy B. Fourie, Mark Tibbett
Place of PublicationPerth
PublisherAustralian Centre for Geomechanics
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9924810-4-9
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event11th International Conference on Mine Closure - Perth, Australia
Duration: 15 Mar 201617 Mar 2016


Conference11th International Conference on Mine Closure


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