Assessment of natural and calcined starfish for the amelioration of acidic soil

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014;21(16):9931-8. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-2898-4. Epub 2014 Apr 23.


Quality improvement of acidic soil (with an initial pH of approximately 4.5) with respect to soil pH, exchangeable cations, organic matter content, and maize growth was attempted using natural (NSF) and calcined starfish (CSF). Acidic soil was amended with NSF and CSF in the range of 1 to 10 wt.% to improve soil pH, organic matter content, and exchangeable cations. Following the treatment, the soil pH was monitored for periods up to 3 months. The exchangeable cations were measured after 1 month of curing. After a curing period of 1 month, the maize growth experiment was performed with selected treated samples to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment. The results show that 1 wt.% of NSF and CSF (700 and 900 °C) were required to increase the soil pH to a value higher than 7. In the case of CSF (900 °C), 1 wt.% was sufficient to increase the soil pH value to 9 due to the strong alkalinity in the treatment. No significant changes in soil pHs were observed after 7 days of curing and up to 3 months of curing. Upon treatment, the cation exchange capacity values significantly increased as compared to the untreated samples. The organic content of the samples increased upon NSF treatment, but it remains virtually unchanged upon CSF treatment. Maize growth was greater in the treated samples rather than the untreated samples, except for the samples treated with 1 and 3 wt.% CSF (900 °C), where maize growth was limited due to strong alkalinity. This indicates that the amelioration of acidic soil using natural and calcined starfish is beneficial for plant growth as long as the application rate does not produce alkaline conditions outside the optimal pH range for maize growth.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acids / analysis
  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Animals
  • Soil / chemistry*
  • Starfish / chemistry*
  • Waste Products / analysis*
  • Zea mays / growth & development*


  • Acids
  • Soil
  • Waste Products