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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Waste Management

Alum Amendment Effects on Phosphorus Release and Distribution in Poultry Litter–Amended Sandy Soils


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 5, p. 1904-1911
    Received: Jan 14, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): kestaats@udel.edu
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  1. Kristin E. Staats *a,
  2. Yuji Araiab and
  3. Donald L. Sparksa
  1. a Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Delaware, 152 Townsend Hall, Newark, DE 19716
    b U.S. Geological Survey, Mail Stop 465, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025


Increased poultry production has contributed to excess nutrient problems in Atlantic Coastal Plain soils due to land application of poultry litter (PL). Aluminum sulfate [alum, Al2(SO4)3·14H2O] amendment of PL effectively reduces soluble phosphorus (P) in the PL; however, the effects of these litters when added to acidic, sandy soils are not well understood. The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of alum-amended poultry litter in reducing P release from three Delaware Coastal Plain soils: Evesboro loamy sand (Ev; excessively drained, mesic, coated Typic Quartzipsamments), Rumford loamy sand (Ru; well drained, coarse-loamy, siliceous, subactive, thermic Typic Hapludults), and Pocomoke sandy loam (Pm; very poorly drained, coarse-loamy, siliceous, active, thermic Typic Umbraquults). Long-term (25 d) and short-term (24 h) desorption studies were conducted, in addition to chemical extractions and kinetic modeling, to observe the changes that alum-amended versus unamended PL caused in the soils. The Ev, Ru, and Pm soils were incubated with 9 Mg ha−1 of alum-amended or unamended PL. Long-term desorption (25 d) of the incubated material resulted in approximately 13.5% (Ev), 12.7% (Ru), and 13.3% (Pm) reductions in cumulative P desorbed when comparing soil treated with unamended and alum-amended PL. In addition, the P release from the soil treated with alum-amended litter was not significantly different from the control (soil alone). Short-term desorption (24 h) showed 7.3% (Ev), 15.4% (Ru), and 20% (Pm) reductions. The overall implication from this study is that the use of alum as a PL amendment is useful in coarse-textured soils of the Coastal Plain. With increased application of alum-amended PL, more significant decreases may be possible with little or no effect on soil quality.

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Copyright © 2004. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA