Replacing mineral fertilisers for bio-based fertilisers in potato growing on sandy soil: A case study

Chantal M.J. Hendriks*, Vaibhav Shrivastava, Ivona Sigurnjak, Jan Peter Lesschen, Erik Meers, Rembert van Noort, Zhongchen Yang, Rene P.J.J. Rietra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The refinement level of bio-based fertilisers (BBFs) can influence environmental and agronomic performance. This study analyses the environmental and agronomic effect of different BBFs on potato growing in sandy soil. A less refined product (liquid fraction of digestate (LFD)), two refined products (ammonium sulphate (AS) and potassium concentrate (KC)), and mineral fertilizer (MF) are compared by conducting: (i) a nitrogen (N) incubation experiment where the N release rate of the BBFs is determined, (ii) a greenhouse gas emission experiment where N2O, CO2, and CH4 emissions after BBF application are measured, (iii) a pot experiment where the nutrient fertiliser replacement value (NFRV) of the BBF is calculated, and (iv) a full-scale field trial where the potato quality and quantity and the remaining N residues in the soil after harvest are assessed. The N release rate and the NFRV of AS (142 ± 19% and 1.13, respectively) was higher compared with the LFD (113 ± 24% and 1.04) and MF (105 ± 16% and 1.00). Lowest N2O emissions were observed after the application of the less refined product (0.02 ± 0.01 per 100 g N applied) and highest for MF urea (0.11 ± 0.02 per 100 g N applied). In the full-scale field trial, no significant difference in potato yield was observed in the plots that received manure in combination with BBF or MF. This study showed that all three BBFs can safely be used in potato growing on sandy soils. However, the adoption of BBFs can be stimulated by (i) solving the practical issues that occurred during the application of LFD, (ii) making sure BBFs are on the list of RENURE materials so they can legally replace mineral fertiliser, and (iii) reducing the surplus of slurry manure to stimulate the use and fair pricing of BBF products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number341
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2021


  • Agricultural circularity
  • Environmental impact
  • Fertiliser replacement value
  • GHG emissions
  • Manure processing
  • Sustainable agriculture


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