Effects of composting on removal of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium

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A six month study evaluated composting affects on nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) leaching from hardwood and furniture sawdust amended with 20% and 30% chicken litter. Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) was obtained from substrates. Moisture was provided through precipitation, and the substrate was aerated once or twice per week, depending on the amount of rainfall. Samples were collected at 45 day intervals for analysis. A significant reduction in N and K concentrations occurred for all amended compost by day 180. Hardwood substrate matured quicker than furniture compost based on a radish seed germination test. Toxicity reduction occurred in every treatment by day 180. Chicken litter control showed the best overall weight loss; however, its toxicity levels were still much higher on day 180.

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