EVALUATING THE POTENTIAL OF ALKALINE BATTERY OXIDE POWDERS TO REDUCE LEAD MOBILITY IN URBAN AGRICULTURAL SETTINGS
We are investing the use of manganese oxide (MnO) to reduce the geomobility of lead in soils. We hypothesize this amendment will decrease lead mobility and lead uptake in plants by adding strong lead sorbtion sites. MnO is being sourced from spent alkaline batteries to minimize cost and repurpose the 3.5 billion alkaline batteries used annually in the U.S. Previous research in this lab has shown that amending with battery oxide powders does not introduce trace toxic metals to the soil. Furthermore, initial abiotic experiments amending compost with MnO resulted in a 40% reduction of soluble lead (George et al., 2012).
We planted the hyperaccumulators Mizuma mustards (Brassica rapa nipposinica) in compost, soil, and a compost soil mixture with and without MnO amendment. The growing matrices were characterized for bulk and bioaccessible lead and phytoavailability was estimated by measuring lead concentrations in plant tissue. Since green leafy vegetables are commonly grown in urban settings and have been shown to bioaccumulate lead, we aim to further refine best practices for sustainable urban agriculture by exploring cost effective and environmentally beneficial protocols.