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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Increasing Bioavailability of Phosphorus from Fly Ash through Vermicomposting


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 6, p. 2116-2119
    Received: June 12, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): gunindranath_c@hotmail.com
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  1. S. S. Bhattacharya and
  2. G. N. Chattopadhyay *
  1. Institute of Agriculture, Visva-Bharati, Sriniketan 731236, West Bengal, India


Due to the environmental problems created by large-scale fly ash generation throughout the world, efforts are being made to recycle these materials. An important component of the recycling effort is using fly ash to improve low-fertility soils. Because availability of many nutrients is very low in fly ash, available ranges of such nutrients must be improved to increase the effectiveness of fly ash as a soil amendment. In the present study, we assessed the possibility of increasing P bioavailability in fly ash through vermicomposting in a yard experiment. Fly ash was mixed with organic matter in the form of cow (Bos taurus) dung at 1:3, 1:1, and 3:1 ratios and incubated with and without epigeic earthworm (Eisenia fetida) for 50 d. The concentration of phosphate-solubilizing bacteria (PSB) was found to increase many fold in the earthworm-treated series of fly ash and organic matter combinations compared with the series without earthworm. This helped to transform considerable amounts of insoluble P from fly ash into more soluble forms and thus resulted in increased bioavailability of the nutrients in the vermicomposted series. Among different combinations of fly ash and organic matter, P availability in fly ash due to vermicomposting was significantly higher in the 1:1 fly ash to cow dung treatment compared with the other treatments.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:2116–2119.