This subproject is one of many research subprojects utilizing the resources provided by a Center grant funded by NIH/NCRR. Primary support for the subproject and the subproject's principal investigator may have been provided by other sources, including other NIH sources. The Total Cost listed for the subproject likely represents the estimated amount of Center infrastructure utilized by the subproject, not direct funding provided by the NCRR grant to the subproject or subproject staff. This project is focused on the problems of environmentally friendly utilization of coal combustion residue, fly ash (FA), containing significant amounts of heavy metals. To date, knowledge about the potential use of FA as a component of growth media for plants is fragmentary. Furthermore, the environmental impact of FA utilization in providing a plant cover over the coal fly ash landfills and the importance of the unsolved problem of its disposal had attracted relatively little attention. This research project will be performed trough the combination of FA/soil leaching experiments with laboratory and greenhouse experiments testing plant species/varieties response to FA in the growth environment. The applicant will test the overall hypothesis that North Dakota fly ash can be safely used as a component of growing media for plants, without compromising environmental health. The applicant will attempt to identify plant species/varieties that are adapted to such condition and we will determine the level of accumulation of potentially toxic heavy metals by these plants. It should lead to diminishing of environmental health endangerment of coal FA piles. The long-term goal of this project is to study the potential use of fly ash (FA) as the medium for growing plants.
The Specific Aims of this project are as follows: 1. To determine the environmental safety of different growth media composed of FA and soil;2. To study the influence of various FA content in FA/soil composed media (up to 100% of FA) on the germination, growth, and uptake of heavy metals, boron (B), and selenium (Se) by the plants;3. To assess the resistance to high concentrations of FA in growth medium among the varieties of most resistant species.
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