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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 102 No. 4, p. 1314-1320
    Received: Mar 11, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): lesollen@ufl.edu
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Municipal Biosolids as an Alternative Nutrient Source for Bioenergy Crops: II. Decomposition and Organic Nitrogen Mineralization

  1. Miguel S. Castilloa,
  2. Lynn E. Sollenberger *a,
  3. João M.B. Vendraminib,
  4. Kenneth R. Woodarda,
  5. John T. Gilmourc,
  6. George A. O'Connord,
  7. Yoana C. Newmana,
  8. Maria L. Silveirab and
  9. Jerry B. Sartainb
  1. a Agronomy Dep., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0500
    b Range Cattle Research and Education Center, Ona, FL 33865
    c John Gilmour Inc., P.O. Box 1109, Fayetteville, AR 72702
    d Soil and Water Science Dep., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611


High-yielding biomass crops remove significant quantities of soil nutrients, and nutrient replacement using inorganic fertilizers may not be sustainable. Municipal biosolids (MBS) are an alternative nutrient source. Organic N is the primary N form in MBS, and patterns of N mineralization can determine the effectiveness of MBS as an N source. The objectives of this experiment were to: (i) determine the effect of season of application on organic N mineralization rate and dry matter (DM) decomposition of Class A MBS measured in the field with litter bags and (ii) compare N mineralization measured using a field-based technique with that predicted from the DECOMPOSITION model. Treatments were season of MBS application (spring and summer) during 2 yr. Organic N mineralization measured using litter bags followed the same pattern and arrived at a similar endpoint as predicted by the DECOMPOSITION model in three of four seasons. Lower spring temperatures and rainfall were associated with lower rates of N mineralization and DM decomposition during the 50 d following spring vs. summer application of MBS. When MBS were applied in summer, organic N mineralization leveled off approximately 50 d after application compared with 150 to 250 d following spring application. Seasonal weather conditions and N mineralization patterns should be considered when determining whether to apply MBS as the source of N, the timing of MBS application, and if single or split applications are best.

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Copyright © 2010. American Society of AgronomyCopyright © 2010 by the American Society of Agronomy