Influence of papermill sludge on growth of Medicago sativa, Festuca rubra and Agropyron trachycaulum in gold mine tailings: a greenhouse study

Environ Pollut. 2008 Feb;151(3):524-31. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2007.04.016. Epub 2007 Jun 11.


A greenhouse study was undertaken to determine the suitability of adding papermill sludge to neutral/alkaline gold mine tailings to improve the establishment of Festuca rubra, Agropyron trachycaulum and Medicago sativa. Festuca rubra root and shoot biomass and A. Trachycaulum shoot biomass were increased with papermill sludge amendment. The addition of papermill sludge and fertilizer drastically increased the shoot and root biomass of M. sativa (20-30 times) while A. trachycaulum and F. rubra showed a more moderate increase in growth. Photosynthetic pigment content of the leaves was higher in papermill sludge treatments than in the treatments without papermill sludge. The organic carbon content, macro-aggregate content and field capacity of the gold mine tailings were increased while the bulk density was decreased by the addition of papermill sludge. This study suggests that addition of papermill sludge and adequate fertilization can alleviate some of the adverse conditions of neutral/alkaline gold mine tailings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agropyron / growth & development*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Biomass
  • Canada
  • Ecology / methods
  • Festuca / growth & development*
  • Gold
  • Industrial Waste*
  • Medicago sativa / growth & development*
  • Mining
  • Paper*
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plant Shoots / growth & development
  • Sewage*


  • Industrial Waste
  • Sewage
  • Gold