Influence of fertilisation with sewage sludge-derived preparation on selected soil properties and prairie cordgrass yield

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of using a fertilizer obtained from waste substances on selected physical and chemical properties of soil and biomass yield Spartina pectinate. The fertilizer used for soil (C) fertilisation contained sewage sludge (SS), waste soil fractions of brown coal (BC), brown coal ash (BCA) enriched with mineral potassium (K) fertilizer (C+SS+BC+BCA+K). The composition of the preparation was developed by the authors and adjusted to the quality of the fertilised soil and the individual characteristics of the plant. It was assumed that the preparation should replace expensive conventional fertilisation methods, allow for management of waste substances and improve soil properties, leading to a high yield of Spartina pectinata used as energy crop. The plants were grown on the soil from the Huta Częstochowa steelworks effect zone. The soil was light, with acid reaction (pH KCl =5.5), with small contents of such contaminants as Cd and Zn and elevated Pb content. Based on a three-year pot experiment, the paper presents the results of the examinations concerning the effect of fertilisation on soil pH, hydrolytic acidity, sorptive properties, content of humic acids, organic coal and total nitrogen in soil and crop yielding.

The effect of the use of the fertilizer (C+SS+BC+BCA+K) was compared with the use of the sludge (C+SS), sludge with mineral fertilizers (C+SS+NPK), mixture of brown coal and mineral fertilizers (C+BC+NPK) and effect of only mineral fertilizers (C+NPK).

Fertilisation with (C+SS+BC+BCA+K) led to the increase in soil pH from 5.5 to 6.0, which is considered sufficient for light soils. The fertilised soil was characterized by sorption capacity of ca. 5.8 cmol(+)/kg, and, after fertilisation with O+W+P, reached the value of ca. 8.0 cmol(+) kg−1. Consequently the soil can be regarded as of good quality in terms of its capability to store nutrients. The C:N ratio was also extended from 11:1 (control soil) to 14:1 (C+SS+BC+BCA+K). The yield of Spartina pectinata in the first year was 1.6 and in the third year 2.7 times higher in the case of fertilisation with the investigated mixture as compared to the control.

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