Solid fraction of separated digestate as soil improver: implications for soil fertility and carbon sequestration

Caleb Elijah Egene*, Ivona Sigurnjak, Inge C. Regelink, Oscar F. Schoumans, Fabrizio Adani, Evi Michels, Steven Sleutel, Filip M.G. Tack, Erik Meers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study investigated the C and N mineralisation potential of solid fractions (SFs) from co-digestated pig manure after P-stripping (P-POOR SF) in comparison with P-rich SFs, as a means to estimate their organic matter stability in soil. Compost (COMP) and biochar (BCHR) (made from P-POOR SF) were also included in the study as reference biosolids. Methods: The SFs were incubated in a sandy-loam soil under moist conditions to determine production of CO2 and mineral N. At specified intervals, CO2 evolution in the mixtures was measured via the alkali trap method and titration over a period of 81 days, while mineral N was measured using a flow analyser after KCl extraction over a period of 112 days. Results: The various SFs showed similar patterns of C mineralisation (15–26% of added total C in 81 days) that were clearly higher than for COMP and BCHR (6% and 7%, respectively). Temporary N immobilisation was observed in biosolids with a high C/N ratio. The effective organic matter (EOM) of the SFs was calculated based on the C mineralisation data and varied between 130 and 369 kg Mg−1. Conclusions: The SF with a reduced P content had a high EOM/P ratio which is beneficial in areas where P status of the soil is already high. Moreover, the N mineralisation patterns confirm that a high C/N ratio may also reduce risks for N leaching due to temporary N immobilisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-688
JournalJournal of Soils and Sediments
Volume21
Early online date17 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • C/N ratio
  • Digestate
  • Mineralisation
  • Soil organic matter
  • Solid fraction

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