An analysis of the versatility and effectiveness of composts for sequestering heavy metal ions, dyes and xenobiotics from soils and aqueous milieus

Ackmez Mudhoo*, Deepika Lakshmi Ramasamy, Amit Bhatnagar, Muhammad Usman, Mika Sillanpää

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


The persistence and bioaccumulation of environmental pollutants in water bodies, soils and living tissues remain alarmingly related to environmental protection and ecosystem restoration. Adsorption-based techniques appear highly competent in sequestering several environmental pollutants. In this review, the recent research findings reported on the assessments of composts and compost-amended soils as adsorbents of heavy metal ions, dye molecules and xenobiotics have been appraised. This review demonstrates clearly the high adsorption capacities of composts for umpteen environmental pollutants at the lab-scale. The main inferences from this review are that utilization of composts for the removal of heavy metal ions, dye molecules and xenobiotics from aqueous environments and soils is particularly worthwhile and efficient at the laboratory scale, and the adsorption behaviors and effectiveness of compost-type adsorbents for agrochemicals (e.g. herbicides and insecticides) vary considerably because of variabilities in structure, topology, bond connectivity, distribution of functional groups and interactions of xenobiotics with the active humic substances in composts. Compost-based field-scale remediation of environmental pollutants is still sparse and arguably much challenging to implement if, furthermore, real-world soil and water contamination issues are to be addressed effectively. Hence, significant research and process development efforts should be promptly geared and intensified in this direction by extrapolating the lab-scale findings in a cost-effective manner.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110587
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Adsorption
  • Agrochemicals
  • Compost
  • Dyes
  • Heavy metal ions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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