Compost Science & Utilization Current research June 2007


Courtesy of BioCycle Magazine


Growth and transpiration of tomato seedlings grown in hazelnut husk compost under water stress

Investigator: Damla Bender Ozenc, Ordu University, Department of Soil Science, Ordu, Turkey

Objectives: To determine effects of composted hazelnut husk (CHH) on tomato seedlings grown under water stress conditions. Seven media were prepared using CHH mixed, in different ratios, with native peat and perlite. Growth parameter and transpiration measurements were taken after a two month growing period, and physical and chemical properties of growing media were determined. Water stress

affected seedling growth negatively. For tomato seedlings, up to 50% CHH can be used in mixtures with peat as a growing component under water stress conditions. It is recommended that further research studies be done on effects of different combinations of CHH media on growth of tomato plant exposed to water stress in various growing phases (i.e., flowering and fruit setting) for better results.

Land application of biosolids to restore disturbed western rangelands

Investigators: M.J. McFarland, M. Vutran and I.R. Vasquez, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Utah State University, Logan, Utah; M. Schmitz, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Salt Lake City, Utah; R.B. Brobst, US Environmental Protection Agency Region 8, Denver, Colorado

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of land applying aerobically digested, anaerobically digested and lime stabilized biosolids to restore marginal rangelands. The increase in dry matter yield and forage nutritional value underscored the value of biosolids land application for both restoring disturbed rangeland and for supporting sustainable ranching activities.

Development of a novel challenge test assay employing irradiated (60Co) compost formulations to determine bacteriocidal effect of composting processes against food-poisoning and food borne pathogens

Investigators: John E. Moore, Miyuki Watabe, Andrew Stewart, B. Cherie Millar and Juluri R. Rao, Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory, Department of Bacteriology, Belfast City Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland; ApT Solutions, Antrim, Northern Ireland; Applied Plant Science Division, Queen's University Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Objectives: To describe a laboratory method involving employment of sterile (60Co) irradiated compost, to determine the thermal lethality of a given time/temperature (70 C/lh) treatment process, challenged with 10 food poisoning organisms from the bacterial genera. This method may be a useful technique to composters interested in evaluating the thermal lethality of a given process or formulation, without the microbiological complications of bacterial overgrowth from surviving nonpathogenic organisms in compost formulations.

Colonization of finished compost by phytophthora ramorum
Investigators: Steven Swain and Matteo Garbelotto, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of Berkeley, Berkeley, California

Objectives: To assess the relative survival of Phytophthora ramorum when introduced at high rates into composts of varying provenance and curing time, produced by both “turned windrow” and “forced air static pile” techniques. The investigators' findings suggest that measures should be taken to insure finished compost is not contaminated by infected green waste.

Short-term nitrogen leaching potential of fresh and composted beef cattle manure applied to disturbed soil cores
Investigators: J.J. Miller, B.W. Beasley, and F.J. Larney, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada; D.S. Chanasyk, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; B.M. Olson, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Objectives: The specific focus of this study was on comparing short-term N leaching potential of organic amendments under uniform soil and simulated environmental conditions. Overall, the experiment showed that short-term N leaching potential of composted beef cattle manure (CM) was greater than fresh manure (FM) for peak concentration, flow-weighted mean concentration, and recovery of NO3-N. Although this study concentrated on the short-term N leaching potential of the organic amendments applied to uniform repacked soils and under constant simulated environmental conditions, further research is required to assess N leaching from FM and CM under more variable and field soil and environmental conditions.

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