Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Using sewage sludge as fertilizer

03.02.2003


Using organic waste presents a win-win situation for municipalities, agriculture

Sewage sludge has the potential to boost production for certain crops while addressing the increase in the amount of waste and the growing scarcity of landfills, according to scientists at the University of Florida.

Using organic waste as fertilizer is not a new concept. Before the 1940s, when synthetic nitrogen fertilizer became widely available, animal manure and human waste were commonly used for improving crop yields around the world. This technique is receiving renewed interest as municipalities face increasing waste disposal challenges.



In a study conducted in Florida from 1997 to 2000 and published in the November/December 2002 issue of Agronomy Journal, scientists from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences compared the effects of different kinds of sewage sludge versus commonly used synthetic nitrogen fertilizer on the forage crop bahiagrass.

Researchers Martin B. Adjei and Jack E. Rechcigl studied yield, protein content, mineral content, and digestibility. Accumulation of heavy metals and nutrients in the crops, groundwater, and soil were also evaluated.

Funded in part by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the study showed liquid forms of sludge are just as effective as traditional synthetic fertilizer. Some minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, and iron were higher in crops fertilized with sludge. In a very dry year, the water in liquid sludge can also enable nutrients to reach the crop’s rooting zone more effectively than synthetic fertilizer.

“Liquid sludge if processed and applied according to specific guidelines has the potential to boost production dramatically. It is low in pathogens, inexpensive, and environmentally safe,” said Adjei. Approximately half of Florida’s 2.5 million acres of bahiagrass are fertilized with synthetic fertilizer yearly.

Adjei added, "While we did observe negligible traces of heavy metals in crops, groundwater, and soil regardless of how the crops were fertilized, this was not significant nor surprising given Florida’s small industrial base and its successful efforts to prevent industrial sources of metals from contaminating sewage."

A survey by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showed the amount of sewage sludge generated in the United States increased from 8.5 metric tons in 1990 to more than 12 metric tons in 2000. At the same time, there has been an increase in public interest for finding alternative, environmentally sound solutions to waste disposal.


Agronomy Journal, http://agron.scijournals.org is a peer-reviewed, international journal of agriculture and natural resource sciences published six times a year by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA). Agronomy Journal contains research papers on all aspects of crop and soil science including resident education, military land use and management, agroclimatology and agronomic modeling, extension education, environmental quality, international agronomy, agricultural research station management, and integrated agricultural systems.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) www.crops.org and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) www.soils.org are educational organizations helping their 10,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy, crop and soil sciences by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.


Sara Uttech | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://agron.scijournals.org
http://www.asa-cssa-sssa.org/

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Combination of Resistance Genes Offers Better Protection for Wheat against Powdery Mildew
22.01.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht New study shows producers where and how to grow cellulosic biofuel crops
17.01.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers reveal how microbes cope in phosphorus-deficient tropical soil

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Opening the cavity floodgates

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Siberian scientists suggested a new method for synthesizing a promising magnetic material

23.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>