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Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 136 (2010) 16–27

Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 136 (2010) 16–27 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Agriculture,

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment

journal homepage: www.el sevier.com/locate/agee

journal homepage: www.el sevier.com/locate/agee Review Impact of fly ash incorporation in soil systems

Review

Impact of fly ash incorporation in soil systems

Vimal Chandra Pandey * , Nandita Singh

Eco-Auditing Group, National Botanical Research Institute, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Rana Pratap Marg, Lucknow 226001, Uttar Pradesh, India

ARTICLE INFO

Article history:

Received 25 April 2009 Received in revised form 16 November 2009 Accepted 17 November 2009 Available online 21 December 2009

Keywords:

Fly ash

Soil system

Microbial chelates

Enzymatic activity

Heavy metal

Stabilization

Bio-amelioration

Degraded land

ABSTRACT

Fly ash (FA)—a coal combustion residue of thermal power plants has been regarded as a problematic solid waste all over the world. The conventional disposal methods for FA lead to degradation and contamination of the arable land. However, several studies proposed that FA can be used as a soil- additive that may improve physical, chemical and biological properties of the degraded soils and is a source of readily available plant micro- and macro-nutrients. Numerous studies revealed that the lower FA incorporation in soil modifies the physico-chemical, biological and nutritional quality of the soil. However, the higher dosage of FA incorporation results in heavy metal pollution and hinders the microbial activity. Practical value of FA in agriculture as an ‘‘eco-friendly and economic’’ fertilizer or soil amendments can be established after repeated field experiments for each type of soil to confirm its quality and safety. Integrated Organic/Biotechnological approaches should be applied for the reducing toxicity of FA contaminated site near thermal power plants. Overall, study reveals that FA could be effectively used in the barren or sterile soil for improving quality and enhancing fertility. The purpose of this paper is to explore the possibility of FA addition into degraded soils for improving nutritional and physico-chemical properties.

2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Contents

1.

Introduction

 

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17

2.

Physico-chemical and mineralogical properties of FA

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3. Impact of FA on soil system

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19

 

3.1. Impact of FA on soil fertility

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3.2. Impact of FA on soil biota

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3.2.1. Soil

microbes

 

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3.2.2. Soil enzymatic activity

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3.2.3. Soil nitrogen cycling

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21

3.3. Soil contamination

due

to FA

 

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3.3.1. Potential toxic elements

3.3.2. Radioactive

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metal-contaminated soil

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4. Role of bio-amelioration of FA on soil

5. Stabilization of heavy

6. Role of microbial chelates in FA bioremediation

7. Improvement of degraded

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21

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7.1.

FA factor that may influence its use on soil

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8.

Using FA

for

reducing

global warming

 

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9.

Fly ash: a versatile waste product with many potential applications

 

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10.

Current aspects of FA incorporation in soil

 

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11. Recommendations and

perspectives

 

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24

12. Conclusions

 

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24

 

Acknowledgements

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24

References

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V.C. Pandey, N. Singh / Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 136 (2010) 16–27

17

1. Introduction

Fly ash (FA), a coal combustion residue, is an amorphous ferro- alumino silicate with a matrix very similar to soil. Elemental composition of FA (both nutrient and toxic elements) varies due to types and sources of used coal ( Comberato et al., 1997 ). Addition of FA to soil may improve the physico-chemical properties as well as nutritional quality of the soil and the extent of change depends on soil and FA properties. In view of the high cost of disposal and environmental management, utilization of FA in agricultural sector could be a viable option. Its use in agriculture was initially due to its liming potential and the presence of essential nutrients, which promoted plant growth and also alleviated the nutrient deficiency in soils ( Mittra et al., 2005 ). FA production and utilization in different countries during 2005 are presented in Figs. 1 and 2 , respectively. Figs. 1 and 2 shows that India generates higher production of FA (112 million tonnes/year) and utilizes lower percentage of FA (38%) in respect of other countries while

percentage of FA (38%) in respect of other countries while Fig. 1. Fly ash production (million

Fig. 1. Fly ash production (million tonnes/year) in different countries (plots present data from the source: http://www.tifac.org.in ).

present data from the source: http://www.tifac.org.in ). Fig. 2. Utilization (%) of total produced fly ash

Fig. 2. Utilization (%) of total produced fly ash in different countries (plots present data from the source: http://www.tifac.org.in ).

Denmark, Italy and Netherlands generate lower FA production (2 million tonnes/year) and utilize 100% FA (Source: http:// www.tifac.org.in ). The commercialization of FA as a fertilizer in agricultural sector for crop production is uncommon in the most countries, because fly ashes may contain non-essential elements (e.g. As, B, Cd, Se) that adversely affect crop and soil and poor in both nitrogen (N is absent because it is oxidized into gaseous constituents during the combustion) and P (excessive Fe and Al convert soluble P to insoluble P compounds, which are not readily available to plants; Adriano et al., 1980 ). Factors that restrict the ash disposal in soils are the content of potentially toxic elements (as B, Se, Ni, Mo and Cd), high salinity and reduced solubility of the some nutrients from the high pH of some FAs ( Page et al., 1979 ). Although, the lower levels of FA in the soil caused enhancements of both growth and yield, however, the adverse effects at higher levels were observed for crops ( Pandey et al., 2009a ). Several studies focused mainly on the general characteristics of ashes that are essential for the soil treatments and their benefits to the growth and yield of crops. There is a need to evaluate the impact of FA on the soil system such as soil fertility, soil health, soil microbes, soil bio-chemical activity and soil nitrogen cycling etc. Our aim in this review paper is to briefly explain the properties of FA which is related to incorpo- ration of soil, the effect of FA on the soil system and discuss potential uses of FA for amelioration of structural, nutritional and other problems in degraded soils for the productivity.

2. Physico-chemical and mineralogical properties of FA

FA being a coal combustion residue shows a wide variation in their physico-chemical and mineralogical properties depending on the nature of parent coal, conditions of combustion, type of emission control devices, storage and handling methods ( Jala and Goyal, 2006 ). FA consists of fine, glasslike particles, which range in particle size from 0.01 to 100 m m ( Davison et al., 1974 ) that are predominantly spherical in shape, either solid or hallow and mostly glossy (amorphous) in nature. Spherical-shaped particles constitute most of the FA especially in the finer fractions. Some spheres are hallow (cenospheres), while others (plerospheres) are filled with smaller amorphous particles are crystals. FA has a low bulk density, high surface area and light texture ( Asokan et al., 2005; Jala and Goyal, 2006 ). The major matrix elements in FA are Si, Al, and Fe together with significant percentages of Ca, K, Na and Ti. It is also substantially rich in trace elements like mercury, cobalt and chromium and these trace elements in the ash are concentrated in the smaller ash particles ( Adriano et al., 1980 ). Ca was found to be the dominant cation in FA followed by Mg, Na and K ( Matti et al., 1990 ). Al in FA is mostly bound in insoluble aluminosilicate structures, which considerably limits its biological toxicity. FA contains essential macro-nutrients like P, K, Ca, Mg and S and micro-nutrients including Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Co, B and Mo. The pH of FA can vary from 4.5 to 12.0 depending largely on the sulphur content of the parent coal and the type of coal used for combustion affects the sulphur content of FA. According to Anisworth and Rai (1987) FAs with Ca/S ratios of less than about 2.5 generated acid extracts, whereas, fly- ashes with Ca/S ratios higher than 2.5 produced alkaline extracts. FA consists of mainly amorphous glass and a few crystalline phases. The crystalline phases of FA consist of gypsum (CaSO 4 2H 2 O), aluminosilicate glass, mullite (3Al 2 O 3 2SiO 2 ), quartz (SiO 2 ), magnetite (Fe 3 O 4 ), anhydrite (CaSO 4 ), ettringite (3CaO Al 2 O 3 3CaSO 4 32H 2 O), opaline SiO 2 , hematite (Fe 2 O 3 ), lime (CaO), chlorite, feldspars and spinel (FeAl 2 O 4 ), depending on the mineralogy of the feed coal ( Moreno et al., 2005; Kutchko and Kim, 2006 ) which are known as minarals.

V.C. Pandey, N. Singh / Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 136 (2010) 16–2718

Table 1 Application of FA for improving problematic soil system.

Amendments

FA doses range

Soil type

Remarks

References

FA + soil

FA @ 3, 6, 12% (w/w)

Sandy loam soil

3% FA amendment on sandy loam soil enhanced decomposition rate of soil organic carbon in comparison to control Higher microbial activities in soil amended with up to 8% FA and combined application of FYM and FA proved to be beneficial in augmenting proliferation and activity of microorganisms in acid soil High rates of FA to soil may hinder normal decomposition and nutrient cycling processes FA incorporation in texturally variant soils modifies the soil physical and physico-chemical environment which in turn may influence the crop yields Reduce hydraulic conductivity by 25% and improve water-holding capacity

Wong and Wong

 

(1986)

FA + soil, FA + soil + FYM @ 5 g/kg

FA @ 80 and 160 g kg 1

Acid alfisol

Lal et al. (1996)

FA + soil and FA + soil + sludge (5%)

FA @ 0, 5, 10 and 20% (w/w); sewage sludge @ 5% FA @ 0, 10, 20, 30 and 40% by weight basis FA to the top 0.15 m coarse textured (sandy) soil FA @ 0, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5 and 20 t ha 1

Silt loam soil

Pichtel and Hayes (1990) Kalra et al. (2000)

FA + soil

Clayey, sandy-clay-loam, sandy, sandy-loam Acidic soil and duplex soil Sandy-loam

FA + soil

Yunusa et al. (2006)

FA + soil

Invertase, amylase, dehydrogenase and protease activity increased with increasing application of fly-ash up to 10 t ha 1 , but decreased with higher levels of FA application The application 10 t ha 1 of FA in combination with organic sources and chemical fertilizer increased the grain yield and nutrient uptake of rice and pod yield of peanut compared to chemical fertilizers alone

Sarangi et al. (2001)

Control, FA, CF, FA + CF, FYM + CF, FA + FYM + CF, L + FYM + CF, PFS + CF, FA + PFS + CF, L + PFS + CF, CR + CF, FA + CR + CF FA + lime + acidic coal spoil

FA @ 10 t ha 1 ; organic sources (FYM, PFS and CR) @ 30 kg N ha 1 ; lime @ 2 t ha 1

Acid lateritic soil

Mittra et al. (2005)

FA @ 0, 10, 20, 30 and 40 g kg 1 1

lime @ 0, 10, 20, 40 and 80 g kg

;

Acidic coal spoils

All rates of lime tested and FA rates at or above 20 g kg 1 increased the spoil pH, aboveground plant biomass and root biomass. So FA is a feasible alternative to lime for treating acidic coal spoils in the region Alkalizing effects of FA can be utilized to reduce plant accumulation of potentially toxic elements, particularly in poorly buffered acidic soils Helped to reduce metal solubility and availability to plants Integrated use of fly ash, organic wastes and chemical fertilizers was beneficial in improving crop yield, soil pH, organic carbon and available N, P and K in sandy loam acid lateritic soil Improved physico-chemical properties of soil and plant grown, net primary productivity, leaf area and photosynthetic pigments Improved physical properties of soils (water-holding capacity, plant available water, water retention capacity) FA can be a good soil amendment for rice production without B toxicity

Taylor and

 

Schuman (1988)

FA + soil, soil + (Zn, Cu, Ni and Cd), FA + soil + (Zn, Cu, Ni and Cd) FA + soil FA + acid lateritic soils

3% FA

Poorly buffered acidic soils Acidic soil Sandy loam acid lateritic soil

Scotti et al. (1999)

FA @ 0, 2, 5, 10, 15 and 20%

Shende et al. (1994) Rautaray et al. (2003)

FA + soil

FA @ 10, 25, 50%

Ajaz and Tiyagi (2003)

FA + soil

FA @ 0, 280, 560 and 1120 Mg ha 1

Adriano and Weber (2001) Lee et al. (2008)

FA + soil

FA @ 0, 40, 80, and 120 Mg ha 1

Loamy fine sand—typic Hapludalfs Sandy soil, sandy loam Sandy soil, sandy loam

FA + soil FA + soil

FA @ 0, 1, 2.5, 5, 10 and 15Mg ha 1 FA @ 0, 3, 6, 12 and 30% (on a dry weight basis)

Improved physical properties of soil and growth and yield of rice at 10 Mg ha 1 The electrical conductivity and pH of both recipient soils were raised, but more so for the sandy soil. The increase in electrical conductivity may limit the availability of soil water because of the high osmotic pressure and the increased pH would alter the availability of micro-elements to plants FA at the highest rate raised the pH of sandy soil and sandy loam from 7.3 and 6.7 to 9.7 and 8.6, respectively. EC also increased from 56 to 2035 m mhos cm 1 for sandy soil and 135 to 341 m mhos cm 1 for sandy loam. Hence, sandy loam had a higher buffering capacity for receiving the FA amendment than sandy soil. Both accumulation and reduction of metals in plant tissue were significantly correlated with the pH of FA-amended soils Arbuscular Mycorrhizal (AM) fungi may make a substantial contribution to successful crop establishment in soils overlying areas of coal fly ash

Mishra et al. (2007) Wong and Wong (1989)

FA + soil

FA @ 0, 3, 6 and 12%

Wong and

 

Calcareous heavy loam soil (Ustarents)

Wong (1990)

FA + soil

FA depths – 5, 7 and 10 cm in bottom of pots; soil depths – 10, 8 and 5 cm; total depths of growth substrate – 15 cm; mycorrhizal treatments FA + phospho-gypsum (50:50, w/w) 1 mixture @ 0, 20, 40 and 60 Mg ha

Two paddy soils of contrasting textures

Bi et al. (2003)

FA + phospho-gypsum + soil

Silt loam, loamy sand

Mixtures of FA + phospho-gypsum should reduce P loss from rice paddy soils due to the high Ca content in this mixture which might convert water-soluble P to less soluble forms by precipitation process and increase soil fertility

Lee et al. (2007)

Abbreviations: FA: Fly-ash, FYM: farmyard manure, CF: chemical fertilizer, L: lime, PFS: paper factory sludge, CR: crop residue, EC: electrical con ductivity.

V.C. Pandey, N. Singh / Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 136 (2010) 16–27

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3. Impact of FA on soil system

3.1. Impact of FA on soil fertility

The effect of FA on soil fertility largely depends upon the properties of original coal and soil. FA, which can be acidic or alkaline depending on the source, can be used to buffer the soil pH ( Elseewi et al., 1978 ). Lime in FA readily reacts with acidic components in soil and releases nutrients such as S, B and Mo in the form and amount beneficial to crop plants. FA improves the physical properties of soil and nutrient status of soil ( Rautaray et al., 2003 ). FA has been used for correction of sulphur and boron deficiency in acid soils ( Chang et al., 1977 ). The majority of crops prefer optimum pH values of between 6.5 and 7.0, within which the availability of most nutrients to plants is maximized. Fertility is impaired at very low pH levels as dissolution and bioavailability of Mn and Al that are toxic to plants increases. Without proper management, majority of soils will be unsuitable for the profitable cultivation. The initial increase in soil pH after alkaline FA amendment is explained by the rapid release of Ca, Na, Al, and OH ions from FA ( Wong and Wong, 1990 ). FA applied on acidic strip mine spoils at different places increased the yield of many crops which was attributed to increased availability of Ca 2+ , Mg 2+ in soil and preventing toxic effects of Al 3+ and Mn 2+ and other metallic ions by neutralizing the soil acidity ( Fail and Wochok, 1977 ). The activity of certain metals may increase with an increase in pH. For example, aluminium is relatively insoluble as Al(OH) 3 at neutral pH, but it exists predominantly as highly soluble and toxic aluminate anions above a soil pH of 8.0. Al 3+ is the toxic species for monocots, e.g. in wheat roots, when Al 3+ activities were increased, the activities of the hydroxyl-Al species were decreased. For dicots either Al(OH) 2+ or Al(OH) 2 + is the phytotoxic species and Al 3+ is much less toxic ( Kochian, 1995 ). Al is the most abundant metal in FA. Although, higher B availability limits the use of FA in crop production ( Page et al., 1979 ), the problem can be overcome by proper weathering of the FA, which reduces B availability to below toxic level.

3.2. Impact of FA on soil biota

There is a dearth of studies regarding the effects of FA amendment on soil biological properties. Numerous short-term laboratory incubation studies found that the addition of unweath- ered FA to sandy soils severely inhibited microbial respiration, numbers, size, enzyme activity and soil nitrogen cycling processes such as nitrification and N mineralization ( Arthur et al., 1984; Cerevelli et al., 1986; Wong and Wong, 1986; Pichtel, 1990; Pichtel and Hayes, 1990; Garau et al., 1991 ). The huge FA materials have been a potential resource for improving problematic soil systems ( Table 1 ).

3.2.1. Soil microbes Some factors such as pH, salinity, toxicity of B and other trace elements, poor physical conditions can limit colonization of microorganisms as well as plants in the FA ( Carlson and Adriano, 1993 ). Though, the concentration of soluble salts and other trace elements was found to decrease due to weathering of FA during natural leaching, thereby reducing the detrimental effects over time ( Sims et al., 1995 ). Despite that, the most limiting factors for microbial activity are usually a lack of substrate C as an energy source for heterotrophic microorganisms and the lack of an adequate N supply ( Klubek et al., 1992 ). Earlier studies indicate that the microbial diversity generally increases as ash weathers and nutrients accumulate. Karpagavalli and Ramabadran (1997) reported that the application of Lignite FA reduced the growth of seven soil borne pathogenic microorganisms. Whereas, the

population of Rhizobium sp. and P-solubilizing bacteria have been reported to increase under the soil amended with either farmyard manure or FA individually or in combination ( Sen, 1997 ). Application of FA (40 t/ha) with phosphate solubilizer, Pseudomo- nas striata improved the bean yield and phosphorous uptake by grain and FA did not exert any detrimental effect on the population of P. striata in soil ( Gaind and Gaur, 2002 ). Alkaline FA and lime were tested for their effectiveness in pathogen removal from biosolids and it was observed that the mixture of 10% ash– biosolids and 8.5% lime on dry weight basis had acceptable levels of Salmonella and total coliforms ( Wong et al., 2001 ). Machulla et al. (2004) suggested that the microbial communities that developed in 17–20-year-old lignite ash deposits in Germany contained specific ash-tolerant populations that different significantly from those in surrounding soils. Increased microbial activity was reported for ash-amended soils containing sewage sludge ( Pichtel, 1990 ). Elevated populations of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and Gram-negative bacteria were found by the FA incorporation (505 Mg ha 1 ) in soil from the analysis of community fatty acids ( Schutter and Fuhrmann, 2001 ). FA and its different mixtures with soil (w/w) were tested for use as a carrier for diazotrophs and phosphobacteria which showed their maximum viability in FA alone or soil:FA (1:1) mixture ( Gaind and Gaur, 2003 ). Kumar et al. (2008) isolated metal tolerant plant growth promoting bacteria (NBRI K28 Enterobacter sp.) from FA contaminated soils and found that the strain NBRI K28 and its siderophore overproducing mutant NBRI K28 SD1 are capable of stimulating plant biomass and enhance phytoextraction of metals (Ni, Zn and Cr) from FA by metal accumulating plant i.e. Brassica juncea (Indian mustard). Concurrent production of siderophores, Indole acetic acid (IAA) and phosphate solubilization revealed its plant growth promotion potential. Finally, in most of the cases mutant of NBRI K28, exerted more pronounced effect on metal accumulation and growth performance of B. juncea plants than wild type. Actinomycetes and fungi declined with 5% FA and all populations declined at the 10 and 20% rate. With 20% FA bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi decreased by 57, 80 and 86%, respectively (Pichtel and Hayes,

1990).

Rau et al. (2009) worked on the evaluation of functional diversity in rhizobacterial taxa of a wild grass ( Saccharum ravennae ) colonizing abandoned Indraprastha and Badarpur FA dumps of Delhi region and reported 65 dominant, morphologically distinct rhizobacteria, which belonged to 18 genera and 38 species. Gram-positive bacteria were dominating in the FA environment. Bacillus spp. and Paenibacillus spp. were common at both the dumps. Multi-metal tolerance was shown by diverse bacterial taxa. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was highest for As (12.5–20.0 mM) and Pb (7.5–10.0 mM). The tolerance profiles of rhizobacteria to different metals may be ranked in the decreasing order as As > Pb > Cr > Zn > Ni > Cu > Co > Cd > Hg. Majority of rhizobacteria showed good siderophore activity. Multiple-metal tolerance was also coupled with high siderophore production in some of the isolates ( Microbacterium barkeri IPSr74, Serratia marcescens IPSr90 and IPSr82, Enterococcus casseliflavus BPSr32, Bacillus sp. IPSr80, Pseudomonas aeruginosa BPSr43 and Brochothrix campestris BPSr3). Proportion of phosphate-solubilizing bacteria was high. Representative rhizobacteria, with high MIC (for most of the metals) and good plant growth promoting (PGP) traits comparable to commercially useful bacterial inoculants were identified as S. marcescens IPSr82 and IPSr90, P. aeruginosa BPSr43, Paenibacillus larvae BPSr106, Arthrobacter ureafaciens BPSr55, Paenibacillus azotofixans BPSr107 and E. casseliflavus BPSr32. S. ravennae and some of these rhizobacteria may be potentially useful for the development of inoculation technologies for conversion of barren FA dumps into ecologically and economically productive habitats.

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V.C. Pandey, N. Singh / Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 136 (2010) 16–27

Garampalli et al. (2005) revealed on the basis of pot-culture experiment that using sterile, phosphorus-deficient soil to study the effect of FA at three different concentrations viz., 10 g, 20 g and 30 g FA kg 1 soil on the infectivity and effectiveness of vesicular- arbuscular mycorrhiza (VAM) Glomus aggregatum in pigeonpea ( Cajanus cajan L.) cv. Maruti. All the concentrations of FA amendment in soil were found to significantly affect the intensity of VAM colonization inside the plant roots and at higher concentration (30 g FA kg 1 soil); the formation of VAM fungal structure was suppressed completely. The dry weight of the C. cajan plants under the influence of FA amendment in VAM fungus- infested soils was found to be considerably less (though not significant enough) when compared to the plants grown without FA that otherwise resulted in significant increase in growth over the plants without G. aggregatum inoculation. However, FA amendment without VAM inoculation was also found to enhance the growth of plants as compared to control plants (without FA and VAM inoculums). Hrynkiewiez et al. (2008) evaluated the use of inoculation with a mycorrhiza-associated bacterial strain ( Sphingomonas sp. 23L) to promote mycorrhiza formation and plant growth of three willow clones ( Salix spp.) on fly ash from an overburdened dump in a pot experiment. They conclude that inoculation with mycorrihza promoting bacterial strains might be a suitable approach to support mycorrhiza formation with autochthonous site-adopted ectomycorrhizal fungi in FA and thereby to improve re-vegetation of FA landfills with willows. Ray and Adholeya (2008) presented a correlation between organic acid exudation and metal uptake by ectomycorrhizal fungi grown on pond ash in vitro and this finding supports the widespread role of low molecular weight organic acid as a function of tolerance, when exposed to metals in vitro.

3.2.2. Soil enzymatic activity The enzymatic activity of soil is also an important factor for measuring soil biological properties after FA amendment in soil.