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 Cascading use is also beneficial for wood
11.12.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht The future of crop engineering
08.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

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: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>