Carbon mineralization, microbial activity and metal dynamics in tailing ponds amended with pig slurry and marble waste

Raúl Zornoza, Ángel Faz, Dora M. Carmona, Jose A. Acosta, Silvia Martínez-Martínez, Arno De Vreng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in an indexed scientific journalpeer-review

63 Scopus citations


A field experiment was set up in Cartagena-La Unión Mining District, SE Spain, aimed at evaluating the short-term effects of pig slurry (PS) amendment alone and together with marble waste (MW) on organic matter mineralization, microbial activity and stabilization of heavy metals in two tailing ponds. These structures pose environmental risk owing to high metals contents, low organic matter and nutrients, and null vegetation. Carbon mineralization, exchangeable metals and microbiological properties were monitored during 67. d. The application of amendments led to a rapid decrease of exchangeable metals concentrations, except for Cu, with decreases up to 98%, 75% and 97% for Cd, Pb and Zn, respectively. The combined addition of MW. +. PS was the treatment with greater reduction in metals concentrations. The addition of PS caused a significant increase in respiration rates, although in MW. +. PS plots respiration was lower than in PS plots. The mineralized C from the pig slurry was low, approximately 25-30% and 4-12% for PS and MW. +. PS treatments, respectively. Soluble carbon (Csol), microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and β-galactosidase and β-glucosidase activities increased after the application of the organic amendment. However, after 3. d these parameters started a decreasing trend reaching similar values than control from approximately day 25 for Csol and MBC. The PS treatment promoted highest values in enzyme activities, which remained high upon time. Arylesterase activity increased in the MW. +. PS treatment. Thus, the remediation techniques used improved soil microbiological status and reduced metal availability. The combined application of PS. +. MW reduced the degradability of the organic compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2606-2613
Number of pages8
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been funded by the European Union FP7 Project No: CP-IP 213968-2 IRIS. R. Zornoza acknowledges a “Juan de la Cierva” contract from the Ministry of Science and Innovation of the Government of Spain. J.A. Acosta acknowledges a “Saavedra Fajardo” contract from the Fundación Séneca of Comunidad Autónoma de Murcia (Spain).


  • Carbon mineralization
  • Microbial activity
  • Mine soils stabilization
  • Organic wastes


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