School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations


Deinking sludge influences biomass, nitrogen and phosphorus status of several grass and legume species

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In a greenhouse study, deinking sludge was evaluated as a soil amendment supplemented with four nitrogen (N) fertilization levels for the growth of the grasses Agropyron elongatum (Host.) Beauv. (tall wheatgrass), Alopecurus pratensis L. (meadow foxtail), Festuca ovina var. duriuscula (L). Koch (hard fescue), and four levels of phosphorus (P) for the growth of the legumes Galega orientalis Lam. (galega), Medicago lupulina L. (black medic), Melilotus officinalis (L.) Lam (yellow sweet clover). Fertilizers were applied on the basis of sludge level to maintain uniform carbon (C)/N or C/P ratios across sludge treatments. In one experiment, sand was mixed with 0, 10, 20 or 30% sludge while, in a second experiment, mineral soil was mixed with 0, 27, 53 or 80% sludge (vol/vol). In sand mixtures of 30 and 20% sludge, grasses had similar or greater growth than in unamended mineral soil when N was added at about 6.5 and 8.4 g kg−1 deinking sludge, respectively. For all legumes but Medicago lupulina, P at about 0.8 g kg−1 sludge was required for these sand mixtures. In soil mixtures of 53 and 27% sludge, grasses grew well when supplemental N was about 5.3 and 6.9 g kg−1 sludge, respectively. Legumes required P at 0.5 and 1.2 g kg−1 sludge, respectively. In general, growth was closely related to total amount of added N or P in spite of the wide range of C/N or C/P ratios. When growing in media amended with sludge, grasses needed higher tissue N concentration for an equivalent growth than in control soil; legumes had similar tissue P concentration. The grasses Agropyron elongatum and Alopecurus pratensis as well as the legumes Melilotus officinalis and Galega orientalis are promising species for field testing, based on dry matter production. Deinking sludge can be used as soil amendment when adequate N and P supplements are provided. Key words: Soil amendment, papermill sludge, Agropyron elongatum, Alopecurus pratensis, Festuca ovina, Medicago lupulina, Galega orientalis, Melilotus officinalis

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Canadian Journal of Soil Science