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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 4, p. 1031-1041
    Received: Dec 8, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): rmichits@dal.ca
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Use of Wastewater and Compost Extracts as Nutrient Sources for Growing Nursery and Turfgrass Species

  1. Robert C. Michitsch *a,
  2. Calvin Chongb,
  3. Bruce E. Holbeinc,
  4. R. Paul Voroneya and
  5. Hua-Wu Liuc
  1. a Dep. of Land Resource Science, Univ. of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada, N1G 2W1
    b Dep. of Plant Agriculture, Univ. of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada, N1G 2W1
    c Super Blue Box Recycling Corporation (SUBBOR), Suite 401, 2275 Lakeshore Blvd. W., Etobicoke, ON, Canada, M8V 3Y3. Robert C. Michitsch, present address, Nova Scotia Agricultural College, c/o R. Michitsch, 20 Tower Rd., Truro, NS, Canada, B2N 5E3


Nutrient salts present in liquid by-products following waste treatment are lost resources if not effectively recycled, and can cause environmental problems if improperly disposed. This research compared the growth response and mineral nutrient status of two nursery and two turfgrass species, hydroponically supplied with nutritive by-product extracts derived from anaerobically digested municipal solid waste (MSW) and aerobically composted organic wastes from the mushroom and MSW industries. Forsythia (Forsythia × intermedia ‘Lynwood’) and weigela (Weigela florida ‘Red Prince’), and creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), were grown in nutrient solutions/extracts prepared from: (i) half-strength Hoagland's #2 solution (HH; control), (ii) Plant Products liquid fertilizer (PP; g kg−1: 180 N; 39 P; 224 K), (iii) spent mushroom compost (SMC), (iv) MSW compost (GMC), and (v) intra-process wastewater from the anaerobic digestion of MSW (ADW). Additional nutrient solutions (SMC-A, GMC-A, and ADW-A) were prepared by amending the original solutions with N, P, and/or K to concentrations in HH (mg L−1: 105 N; 15 P; 118 K). Plants receiving the SMC-A extract grew best or at least as well as those in HH, PP, and the amended GMC-A and ADW-A solutions. This study indicated that, with proper amendments of N, P, K and other nutrients, water-soluble constituents derived from organic waste treatment have potential for use as supplemental nutrient sources for plant production.

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