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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 72 No. 2, p. 399-401
    Received: June 5, 1979



Tests to determine Wheat Straw Decomposition1

  1. D. V. Armbrust2



Crop residues are important for erosion control and maintaining soil fertility, but these residues could also be used for other pnrposes. To determine the amount of excess residues available for other uses, we need a simple, accurate method to measure residue decomposition. Three methods were evaluated to determine residue lospes by decomposition. Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) straw was enclosed in nylon envelopes, buried 6 cm deep in a loam soil in greenhouse benches, and recovered periodically during 9 months. Assays for acriflavine (acriflavine hydrochloride) adsorption on 0.1 N NaOH-extractable humic materials, light absorption of the extracted humic materials, and the force necessary to break the straw were compared with weight loss by decomposition

Light absorption and break force were linearly related to residue loss with regrmiou coefficients of −0.95 and −0.92, respectively. Break force approached zero after 2 months. Acriflavine adsorption was poorly related to straw loss. The light-absorption technique may be used to measure decomposition of crop residues freely mixed Within the soil once the relationships between percent transmittance and loss by decomposition are established.

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