Peat has been a major component of substrates used in container plant production since the 1960s. Highly porous with the capacity to hold water, peat makes an ideal rooting and growing medium for potted plants.
But harvesting peat (and draining valuable peatlands in the process) releases the carbon stored in peat into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. And because peat plays an important role in wetland ecosystems—peat bogs improve groundwater quality and are unique habitats for wild plants and animals—the use of peat has been challenged and peat mining is increasingly regulated.
Researchers have worked for years to find alternative organic materials that can be used as partial or complete substitutes for peat. Composted biosolids, municipal solid waste, and yard trimmings have all been investigated as possible components for use in bedding, landscape and foliage plant production. Now, composted dairy manure is being tested as an economical and environmentally sound alternative to peat.
Scientists Qiansheng Li, Jianjun Chen, Russell D. Caldwell, and Min Deng from the Department of Environmental Horticulture and Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (MREC) at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, published a research report in HortTechnology that evaluated the potential for using cowpeat, a composted dairy manure, as a component of container substrates for foliage plant propagation.
For the study, a commercial formulation (20% perlite and 20% vermiculite with 60% Canadian or Florida peat based on volume) was used as control, and peat was replaced by cowpeat at 10% increments up to 60%, which produced 14 substrates. The 14 substrates were used for rooting single-node cuttings of golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) and heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron scandens ssp. oxycardium) and three-node cuttings of 'Florida Spire' fig (Ficus benjamina) and germinating seeds of sprenger asparagus (Asparagus densiflorus) in a shaded greenhouse.
The research showed that container substrates formulated by incorporating 10% to 60% cowpeat had physical and chemical properties similar to the commercial Canadian and Florida peat-based substrates. Biological testing also demonstrated that all tested cuttings rooted and seed germination rates of cowpeat substituted substrates were greater than or comparable to those of control substrates.
The researchers observed that the promising results of the study suggest that there is a potential for using cowpeat for foliage plant propagation and probably for foliage plant production. "The use of cowpeat will provide the containerized plant industry with an alternative to peat, which in turn reduces peat mining and encourages composting of dairy manure, thus contributing to the well-being of our environment", Chen concluded.
The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortTechnology electronic journal web site: http://horttech.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/19/2/340
Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application.
Michael W. Neff | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > ASHS > Asparagus densiflorus > Biological testing > Canadian Light Source > Epipremnum aureum > Ficus benjamina > HortTechnology > Horticultural Science > Philodendron scandens ssp. oxycardium > Science TV > carbon dioxide > foliage plant propagation > heartleaf philodendron > organic material > plant production > sprenger asparagus > wetland ecosystems
Microjet generator for highly viscous fluids
13.02.2018 | Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
Sweet route to greater yields
08.02.2018 | Rothamsted Research
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences