Compost feedstock and maturity level affect soil response to amendment

Lannan, A. P. and Erich, M. S. and Ohno, T. (2012) Compost feedstock and maturity level affect soil response to amendment. Biology and Fertility of Soils. 13 p..

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Although composts are commonly used soil amendments in a variety of production systems, literature reports on the effects of compost on soil properties are inconsistent. This study examined three mature composts, two immature composts, and one commercial compost produced by combining highly decomposed material with fresher material; all were produced from materials acceptable to organic production systems. The composts were mixed with soils and incubated for 114 days, and microbial, chemical, and physical properties were examined over time. One immature compost sustained a high level of soluble C, C mineralization, and microbial biomass throughout the incubation and increased soil aggregation. The other immature compost appeared to release soluble C that was relatively resistant to microbial decomposition; it was less effective at stimulating microbial activity and increasing aggregation. The compost produced by combining highly decomposed and fresh feedstocks was chemically stable, but it sustained a high level of soluble C, C mineralization, and microbial biomass and did not cause N immobilization. Despite its stability, this compost was highly stimulatory to microbial populations, and this method of producing compost deserves further study. Fluorescence spectroscopy showed promise as a way to investigate the chemistry of the soluble C released during compost decomposition.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: We thank Stellos Tavantzis, the Principal Investigator for the USDAOrganic Transition Grant 2007-51106-03791, and the Northeast IPM Grant 2007-34103-17076, who graciously provided supplemental stipend support to APL. Funding for this study was also provided by the Maine Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station. We also thank Bryan Dail, Megan Patterson, Mark Hutchinson, Dave Lambert, and Heidi Waldrip for technical assistance, and several commercial compost producers for providing samples of compost. This is MAFES publication no. 3277.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Compost , Microbial biomass , Soil aggregation , C mineralization ,Water extractable organic C (WEOC) , Parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC)
Author Affiliation: Department of Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Maine, 5722 Deering Hall, Orono, ME 04469, USA
Subjects: Soil Science and Microbiology > Soil Sciences
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2012 07:51
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2012 07:51
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