Assessment of compost dosage in farmland through ecotoxicological tests

Alberto Pivato, Roberto Raga, Maria Cristina Lavagnolo, Stefano Vanin, Alberto Barausse, Luca Palmeri, Raffaello Cossu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


A research project was carried out to evaluate ecotoxicological effects of mature compost addition to agricultural soil, using a battery of ecotoxicological tests. The following species were selected: plant of Lepidium sativum, earthworm Eiseniafoetida, aquatic crustacean Daphnia magna and bacteria Vibrio fischeri. The tests were classified as “direct tests” using solid compost samples and “indirect tests” using compost leaching test eluate. The direct bioassays were performed using compost added to artificial soil in concentrations ranging from 2.5 to 100 % (w/w); the indirect ones considered compost eluate, added to a standard solution in the same concentrations used in the direct tests. Both tests aimed at obtaining the ecotoxicological parameters (LC50 and EC50). These values were then utilized to implement the Species Sensitivity Distribution (SSD) analysis and extrapolate the Hazard Concentration (HC), a useful threshold to preserve the biodiversity of agricultural ecosystems. Results indicated an increase in compost toxicity with greater compost concentrations; in particular, for direct tests compost dosage below 10 % showed low toxicity, while for indirect ones the toxicity was higher. Furthermore, SSD analysis showed a Hazardous Concentration (HC5) for direct bioassays of 3.5 % and for indirect of 14 %.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-317
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Material Cycles and Waste Management
Issue number2
Early online date25 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


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