The impact of sludge amendment on gas dynamics in an upland soil: monitored by membrane inlet mass spectrometry

Bioresour Technol. 2005 Jul;96(10):1103-15. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2004.10.006. Epub 2004 Dec 8.


Studies of the land disposal of biosolids and municipal sewage have focused largely on the potential pollution of the soil with pathogens, toxic compounds or heavy metals. Little is known about the impact of sludge amendment on carbon source and sink concentrations in soils. In this study gas concentrations in Scottish soil cores (from limed and unlimed plots) were monitored continuously at 3 cm depth before, during and after sludge application using membrane inlet mass spectrometry (MIMS). Following sludge application to soil cores, significant and sustained increases in CH4 (for 8 days) and CO2 (for between 16 and 120 days) concentration were observed. This suggested short-term stimulation of indigenous methanogens, provision of a new methanogenic inoculum, or inhibition of methane oxidizers (for example by heavy metals or NH4 in sludge). Soil microbial fermentative activity was enhanced over periods of a few months as shown by elevated CO2 concentrations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Methane / metabolism*
  • Scotland
  • Sewage / microbiology*
  • Soil / analysis*
  • Soil Microbiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Sewage
  • Soil
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Methane