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01.10.2011 | Original Article | Ausgabe 4/2011

Environmental Earth Sciences 4/2011

Selection of bioindicators in coal-contaminated soils of Dhanbad, India

Zeitschrift:
Environmental Earth Sciences > Ausgabe 4/2011
Autoren:
R. E. Masto, L. C. Ram, P. R. Shandilya, S. Sinha, J. George, V. A. Selvi

Abstract

Coal handling, crushing, washing, and other processes of coal beneficiation liberate coal particulate matter, which would ultimately contaminate the nearby soils. In this study, an attempt was made to determine the status of soil bio-indicators in the surroundings of a coal beneficiation plant, (in relation to a control site). The coal beneficiation plant is located at Sudamudih, and the control site is 5 km away from the contaminated site, which is located in the colony of Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research Institute, Digwadih, Dhanbad. In order to estimate the impact of coal deposition on soil biochemical characteristics and to identify the most sensitive indicator, soil samples were taken from the contaminated and the control sites, and analyzed for soil organic carbon (SOC), soil N, soil basal respiration (BSR), substrate-induced respiration (SIR), and soil enzymes like dehydrogenase (DHA), catalase (CAT), phenol oxidase (PHE), and peroxidase (PER). Coal deposition on soils improved the SOC from 10.65 to 50.17 g kg−1, CAT from 418.1 to 804.11 μg H2O2 g−1 h−1, BSR from 8.5 to 36.15 mg CO2–C kg−1 day−1, and SIR from 24.3 to 117.14 mg CO2–C kg−1 day−1. Soils receiving coal particles exhibited significant decrease in DHA (36.6 to 4.22 μg TPF g−1 h−1), PHE (0.031 to 0.017 μM g−1 h−1), PER (0.153 to 0.006 μM g−1 h−1), and soil N (55.82 to 26.18 kg ha−1). Coal depositions significantly (P < 0.01) decreased the DHA to 8.8 times, PHE to 1.8 times, and PER to 25.5 times, but increased the SOC to 4.71 times, CAT to 1.9 times, SIR to 4.82 times, and BSR to 4.22 times. Based on principal component analysis and sensitivity test, soil peroxidase (an enzyme that plays a vital role in the degradation of the aromatic organic compounds) is found to be the most important indicator that could be considered as biomarkers for coal-contaminated soils.

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