IWA Publishing

Decomposition of the organic matter of natural and concentrated vinasse in sandy and clayey soils

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Vinasse has been used as fertilizer by sugarcane growers, due to its potential to completely replace mineral fertilizers. However, if the application is not adequate, this practice may cause environmental contamination. This study used a respirometry test to evaluate the organic matter (OM) decomposition present in natural vinasse and concentrated vinasse (CV), with or without urea addition. The experiment involved two soil types and two types of vinasse at different application rates. The vinasse chemical characterization showed high levels of pseudo-total potassium (K) in both vinasses, which are not considered in the application rates. Decomposition rates above 90% and between 70 and 80% were obtained for sandy and clayey soils, respectively, over a brief 41-day period, indicating rapid OM decomposition. Positive priming effect was observed for CV and CV + urea treatments in sandy soil. An important implication of these findings revealed that K not available in vinasse was released in the soil solution by the OM mineralization, indicating the possibility of overestimation in the vinasse application rates. Therefore, K pseudo-total values should be considered in the calculation of the vinasse application rates. However, studies involving K mobility into soil are needed to validate this hypothesis.

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