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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 28 No. 1, p. 164-169
    Received: Nov 24, 1997

    * Corresponding author(s): skuo@wsu.edu


Solubility and Leachability of Fishwaste Compost Phosphorus in Soilless Growing Media

  1. S. Kuo *,
  2. R. L. Hummel,
  3. E. J. Jellum and
  4. D. Winters
  1. Washington State Univ. Research and Extension Center, 7612 Pioneer Way E., Puyallup, WA 98371-4998.



Knowledge of solubility and leachability of fishwaste compost P is needed to effectively use fishwaste compost as a P source in soilless growing media. The fishwaste compost contained 3.6 g P kg−1 compost on a dry weight basis and had high P solubility, with 64.4% of the total P in the compost extractable by six successive extractions with 0.01 M NaCl. In the dilute salt solution, the Ca release from the compost paralleled that of P. The sequential extraction did not substantiate that Ca-P was the predominant P form in the compost, because substantial amounts of P solubilized in 0.01 M NaCl were from the labile P (NH4Cl-P) and potentially labile P (Fe- and Al-P) pools. High solubility of the compost P resulted in elevation of P concentrations in leachates and cumulative amounts of P leached over 10 wk when the growing media containing 25% or more compost was irrigated with overhead sprinkler irrigation. Young rhododendron (Rhododendron fortunei ‘Scintillation’) did not significantly (P > 0.05) reduce P leaching from the 50% or higher compost treatments because the amount of P accumulated in the plant leaves represented 3 ± 0.9 (SD)% of P in the compost and P fertilizer combined. To reduce P leaching and minimize nonpoint P pollution, additions of P fertilizer to the soilless growing media containing the fishwaste compost should be restricted. Otherwise, the proportion of the compost in the media should be limited to 25% or less, unless it is used in conjunction with controlled drip irrigation.

Scientific Paper 9705-19, Dep. of Crop and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture and Home Economics Research Center, Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA 99164.

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