Sunflower Heavy Metal Phytoextraction on Sewage Sludge

  • Lynn R. Mutethya Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology


Sewage treatment results in two components: the effluent which is usually disposed of at the required regulatory standards; and sludge which is disposed of by utilization in Agriculture, tipping on controlled landfill sites, disposal at sea or by incineration. The application of sewage sludge to land is an effective disposal method. Not only does it provide a solution to the sludge disposal problem, but it is beneficial to agricultural productivity. Typically, large volumes of sludge are produced in sewage treatment plants which is sold to farmers at cheap prices. Despite the perception of sewage sludge being ‘dirty fertilizer’ it contains useful amounts of plant nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous. When used, less chemical fertilizers are required and the nutrients are released gradually for plant uptake as compared to the more soluble chemical fertilizers. On the other hand, sewage sludge contains toxic heavy metals that may have adverse effects to human life when consumed. Phytoextraction is a process in which certain plants have the ability to absorb, translocate and store toxic contaminants from a soil matrix into their root and shoot tissue. Conventional met hods of removing heavy metals are locally inaccessible, phytoextraction is useful technology for local removal of heavy metals in manure sewage sludge. Atomic absorption spectroscopy analysis was used to determine the phytoextraction capability of sunflowers growing in controlled sludge amended soils. Results indicate a significant reduction in heavy metal levels after the phytoextraction process.
Keywords:  Hyperaccumulator, phytoextraction, phytoremediation, sewage sludge, sunflower
Sep 25, 2017
How to Cite
MUTETHYA, Lynn R.. Sunflower Heavy Metal Phytoextraction on Sewage Sludge. Proceedings of Sustainable Research and Innovation Conference, [S.l.], p. 98-100, sep. 2017. ISSN 2079-6226. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 feb. 2018.