Short-term effects of sugarcane waste products from ethanol production plant as soil amendments on sugarcane growth and metal stabilization

Environ Sci Process Impacts. 2013 May;15(5):947-54. doi: 10.1039/c3em00073g.


Numerous waste products have been widely studied and used as soil amendments and metal immobilizing agents. Waste utilization from ethanol production processes as soil amendments is one of the most promising and sustainable options to help utilize materials effectively, reduce waste disposal, and add value to byproducts. As a consequence, this present work carried out a four-month pot experiment of sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) cultivation in Cd and Zn contaminated soil to determine the effect of three sugarcane waste products (boiler ash, filter cake and vinasse) as soil amendment on sugarcane growth, metal translocation and accumulation in sugarcane, and fractionation of Cd and Zn in soil by the BCR sequential extraction. Four treatments were tested: (1) non-amended soil; (2) 3% w/w boiler ash; (3) 3% w/w filter cake; and (4) a combination of 1.5% boiler ash and 1.5% vinasse (w/w). Our findings showed the improved biomass production of sugarcanes; 6 and 3-fold higher for the above ground parts (from 8.5 to 57.6 g per plant) and root (from 2.1 to 6.59 g per plant), respectively, as compared to non-amended soil. Although there was no significant difference in Cd and Zn uptake in sugarcane (mg kg(-1)) between the non-amended soil and the treated soils (0.44 to 0.52 mg Cd kg(-1) and 39.9 to 48.1 mg Zn kg(-1), respectively), the reduction of the most bioavailable Cd concentration (BCR1 + 2) in the treated soils (35.4-54.5%) and the transformation of metal into an insoluble fraction (BCR3) highlighted the beneficial effects of sugarcane waste-products in promoting the sugarcane growth and Cd stabilization in soil.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Cadmium / isolation & purification*
  • Cadmium / metabolism
  • Ethanol / analysis
  • Ethanol / metabolism
  • Plant Roots
  • Saccharum / growth & development*
  • Saccharum / metabolism
  • Soil / analysis*
  • Soil Pollutants / isolation & purification*
  • Soil Pollutants / metabolism
  • Waste Products* / analysis
  • Zinc / isolation & purification
  • Zinc / metabolism


  • Soil
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Waste Products
  • Cadmium
  • Ethanol
  • Zinc