Relationship between availability indices and plant uptake of nitrogen and phosphorus from organic products

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A better knowledge of the plant-availability of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in organic products may help to improve the efficient use of these products as fertilizers. In the present study, availability indices for N and P of nine widely differing organic products obtained by different fractionation methods were compared with the plant uptake of N and P from these products. The fractionation methods included CaCl2 extraction, thermal fractionation (heating of organic products), and pepsin extraction, for N, and extraction with diluted sulphuric acid, P-Bray-I, P-Olsen, and extraction using an iron oxide coated filter paper, for P. The results of pot experiments with ryegrass using a double-pot technique (Janssen, 1990) over 62 (N experiment) and 93 days (P experiment) were used as reference for plant-availabe N and P. The 0.01 M CaCl2 extractable inorganic N reasonably predicted plant-available N only in organic products with a high inorganic N fraction. Thermal fractionation and pepsin extraction provided a reasonable index for mineralizable N in organic products having a high fraction of mineralizable N. Of the P fractionation methods, the extraction using iron oxide coated filter paper was the best indicator of plant-available P in the products.

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