Sewage sludge, sewage sludge compost and vermicompost: short term effects in soil-plant system

Sewage sludge, sewage sludge compost and vermicompost: short term effects in soil-plant system

Organic waste and the compost and vermicompost derived from it may have different agro-nomic values, but little work is available on this aspect of sewage sludge.

A 75-day pot experiment with perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) as the test plant aimed to investigate the fertiliser value and organic matter replenishment capacity of digested sewage sludge and the compost and vermicompost made from it, applied in 1% and 3% doses on acidic sand and calcareous loam. The NPK content and availability, changes in organic carbon content and plant biomass, and the efficiency of the amendments as nitrogen fertilisers were investigated.

The final average residual carbon content for sludge, compost, and vermicompost was 35 ± 34, 85 ± 46, and 55 ± 46%, respectively. The organic carbon mineralisation rate depended on the soil type. The additives induced significant N mineralisation in both soils: the average increment in mineral N content was 1.7 times the total added N on acidic sand and 4.2 times it on calcareous loam for the 1% dose. The agronomic efficiency of compost and vermicompost as fertilisers was lower than that of sludge. In the short term, sludge proved to be the best fertiliser, while compost was the best for organic matter replenishment.

The results were published in the Q1 journal Agronomy:

Uzinger, N.; Szécsy, O.; Szűcs-Vásárhelyi, N.; Padra, I.; Sándor, D.B.; Lončarić, Z.; Draskovits, E.; Rékási, M. Short-Term Decomposition and Nutrient-Supplying Ability of Sewage Sludge Digestate, Digestate Compost, and Vermicompost on Acidic Sandy and Calcareous Loamy Soils. Agronomy 2021, 11, 2249. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11112249

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