Compost Science & Utilization current research March 2007


Courtesy of BioCycle Magazine

Crop Response

Extractability, plant yield and toxicity thresholds for boron in compost

Investigators: William F. Brinton and Eric Evans, Woods End Research Laboratory, Inc., Mt. Vernon, Maine

Objectives: To determine the quantity of total and water-soluble boron in compost and other sources and their relationship to plant performance and toxicity symptoms; and to establish toxicity thresholds and/or prediction equations useful to guide use of B-wastes in compost and application of end composts.

Effect of high chromium compost on lettuce growth and soil chemistry

Investigators: Md. Abul Kashem, Phil R. Warman and Shigenao Kawai, Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Nutrition, Faculty of Agriculture, Iwate University, Ueda, Japan; Department of Environmental Sciences, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of amending soil with various rates of high chromium (Cr) compost on the growth of lettuce and the accumulation of B, Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Na, Cd, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, P, Pb, S and Zn in the growth medium and lettuce plant tissue. The results indicate that high Cr compost could be used safely as a soil conditioner for leafy crops.

Growth, herbage and seed yield and quality of Telfairia occidentalis as influenced by cassava peel compost and mineral fertilizer

Investigators: W. B. Akanbi, C. O. Adebooye, A. O Togun, J.O. Ogunrinde and S. A. Adeyeye, Department of Agronomy, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria; Department of Plant Science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria; Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria; Department of Agriculture, Babcock University, Ilishin Remo, Nigeria

Objectives: To test the assertion that integration of mineral fertilizer with crop residue compost could further increase crop yield by nourishing Telfairia occidentalis with cassava peel compost with or without mineral fertilizer. Results support concept of synergy between composts and mineral fertilizer, providing further stimulus to utilize blends, instead of sole application of compost or mineral fertilizer for crop production

Materials and Methods

Composting food residuals with selected paper products

Investigators: Menghau Sung and William Ritter, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, Tainan, Taiwan; and Department of Bioresources Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware

Objectives: To determine composting efficiency of various paper materials (regular paper plates, Earthshell-made plates, and commercial biodegradable paper in the food service industry and to understand effects of finished compost as a growing media. Specific objectives were 1) To compare the degradation of three different paper products in the composting process; and 2) To monitor changes in materials during composting such as size, temperature, pH and chemical compositions; and 3) To conduct greenhouse pot experiments on the finished composted materials.

Application of high-efficient lingo-cellulolytic fungi in cocomposting of rice straw amended poultry droppings for the production of humus rich compost

Investigators: N. Saha, D. Mukherjee, K.K. Bhattacharaya and N. Mukhopadyay, AICRP on Microbiological Decomposition and Recycling of Farm and City Wastes, BCKV, Nadia, WB, India

Objectives: To evaluate the biotechnological approach in a composting technique for generation of humus rich manure from cellulose and lignin rich paddy straw. The two step technique involved decomposition of lignocellulosic constituent of paddy straw by the efficiency ligninocellulose degrading white rot fungi for five weeks followed by an intensive synthetic stage of another five weeks for humus formation. Results show the two-step composting process promising for producing value-added compost from lignocellulosic wastes in very short time.

Development of time-temperature probes for tracking pathogen inactivation during composting

Investigators: Kristine M. Wichuk and Daryl McCartney, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Objectives: To determine whether more specific temperature monitoring requirements are needed to ensure that the entire mass of compost meets temperature-time criteria, it is of interest to monitor the conditions random particles of material encounter as they undergo the composting process. Research paper addresses rationale for and development of a new temperature logging device capable of monitoring the environment of random particles of compost material.

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