Improving yield and quality of vegetable grown in PAEs-contaminated soils by using novel bioorganic fertilizer

Nai-Xian FENG, Qi-Feng LIANG, Yu-Xi FENG, Lei XIANG, Hai-Ming ZHAO, Yan-Wen LI, Hui LI, Quan-Ying CAI, Ce-Hui MO, Ming Hung WONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Phthalate acid esters (PAEs) are ubiquitous pollutants in agricultural soils. Application of bioorganic fertilizer (BOF) containing beneficial microbes represents a promising approach to improve the yield and quality of crops grown in contaminated soils. In the present study, a novel multifunctional bioorganic fertilizer N-BOF was developed by using compost of sewage sludge and agricultural waste and inoculating with PAEs-degrading B. megaterium YJB3 and phosphate solubilizing B. megaterium YLYP1. Its feasibility of improving the yield and quality of vegetable grown in PAEs (including DBP and DEHP) contaminated soil was evaluated by pot experiments. The N-BOF could effectively promote plant growth, with biomass increasing by 4–66.9% and 19–110% compared to chemical (CF) and no fertilizer (CK), respectively. The concentrations of DBP and DEHP in shoots of chemically fertilised vegetable ranged 1.23–3.12 mg/kg (dry weight, DW) and 1.63–3.89 mg/kg (DW), respectively. Their concentrations were significantly decreased (p < 0.05) when N-BOF was applied (1%, 2%, 5% amendment), especially at higher application rate ranging 0.11–0.3 mg/kg (DW) and 0.16–0.32 mg/kg (DW), respectively. Meanwhile, vegetable quality attributes were also significantly improved when 2% N-BOF was applied, with increase in the contents of vitamin C, vitamin B1, total protein, and starch, and decrease in the contents of nitrite and nitrate. In this case, the human health risk from consumption of the vegetable grown in PAEs-contaminated soil could be significantly reduced. Thus, our study is expected to provide an efficient way of high-value utilization of organic substrates by producing low-cost but high quality N-BOF. Future studies on the effects of N-BOF in terms of fertilizer regimes on yield and quality of the vegetable are needed, and further field studies for assessing the long-term efficacy and reliability of this promising N-BOF are also warranted. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number139883
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online dateJun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


Feng, N.-X., Liang, Q.-F., Feng, Y.-X., Xiang, L., Zhao, H.-M., Li, Y.-W., . . . Wong, M.-H. (2020). Improving yield and quality of vegetable grown in PAEs-contaminated soils by using novel bioorganic fertilizer. Science of the Total Environment, 739. Retrieved from


  • Organic pollutants
  • Soil pollution bioremediation
  • Vegetable
  • Biosolids
  • Food safety


Dive into the research topics of 'Improving yield and quality of vegetable grown in PAEs-contaminated soils by using novel bioorganic fertilizer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.