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Interdisciplinary Research Centre


Highly contaminated mine and refinery metal waste sites can remain barren of vegetation for many years.  In some cases the only solution has been to dump the contaminated soil into landfill, but it is much more environmentally friendly to regenerate the land.

Professor Leggo and his colleagues are working on a new strategy of soil amendment to greatly enhance the scope of plant growth on poor soils. A critical factor is how to supply sufficient plant nutrients to sustain growth. Biofertilizer seems to be the answer to this problem because, unlike synthetic chemicals, it provides a natural source of plant nutrients by greatly increasing the population of soil nitrifying micro-organisms. It is also becoming a less expensive method of soil fertilization than synthetic agricultural chemicals and will not damage the soil environment.

Their current work is using coal waste as a substrate. They have shown that the biofertilizer is highly effective in producing enhanced growth and quality in six plant species; Miscanthus (Miscanthus giganteus), Osier Willow (Salix viminialis), Maize (Zea maize), Sugar Beet (Beta vulgaris), Oil Seed Rape (Brassica napus) and Linseed (Linum usitatissimum).

Recent work under semi-arid conditions in  S.E Spain (Almeria) the biofertilizer has been shown to function in substrates contaminated with industrial waste. 

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Key publications: 

Leggo,P.J. 2013. Enhancing the growth of plants on coal waste using a biological fertilizer. International Journal of Environment and Resource. 2,(3), 59-66.

Leggo,P.J, Ledésert, B and Day ,J. 2010 Organo-zeolitic treatment of mine waste to enhance the growth of vegetation. Eur.J.Mineral. 22, 813-822.

Leggo,P.J and Ledésert,B. 2009. The stimulation of nitrification in an organically enriched soil by zeolitic tuff and its effect on plant growth. Annuals of Agrarian Science. 7, 9-15.

Professor  Peter J Leggo
Not available for consultancy


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