The effect of microorganisms on soil structure development in copper mine tailing
AuthorTurk, Colleen Mary, 1961-
AdvisorSinclair, Norval A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractOrganic matter amendments have long been known to improve native organic matter content, aggregation and structure of soils. In the laboratory, however, organic matter amendments to autoclaved soils have no such effect. This may explain the failure of many reclamation attempts on mine tailing wastes, which often proceed without regard for the microbiological processes necessary for soil formation and cycling of plant nutrients. In this study, incubation of tailing waste with soil microbes and a simple carbon source proved sufficient to increase the formation of water stable aggregates from tailing particles. Autoclaved control samples showed no change in aggregation. The incorporation of microbial cell mass into the mineral matrix of the tailing was observed using scanning electron microscopy. These results suggest that microbial activity is necessary in order to incorporate organic matter into the abiotic matrix of tailing, promoting aggregation and ultimately soil formation from this material.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Soil and Water Science