Response of Several Grass and Legume Species to Paper Deinking Sludge

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  • 1 Horticultural Research Center, Dept. of Plant Science, Laval Univ., Que. G1K 7P4, Canada.

Paper recycling generates large quantities of de-inking sludge, which is disposed of mainly by landfilling. More ecological disposal alternatives include land application and use as a container nursery medium. In this study, raw de-inking sludge was evaluated as a medium component supplemented with applications of four N fertilization regimes for the growth of three grass species (Festuca ovina duriuscula, Agropyron elongatum, Alopecurus pratensis), and four regimes of P fertilization for the growth of three Rhizobium-inoculated legumes (Medicago lupulina, Galega orientalis, Melillotus officinalis). Fertilizer was applied on the basis of sludge rate to maintain a uniform C: N ratio across sludge treatments. In one experiment, sand was mixed with 0, 10%, 20%, and 30% sludge by volume and 20% perlite, while in a second experiment, mineral soil was mixed with 0, 27%, 53%, and 80 % sludge and 20% perlite. Results indicate that shoot dry weight of all species increased with the amount of sludge in the mixture in tests with sand. In the soil mixture experiment, grasses showed the best response to treatments of 53% sludge mixture at the two highest N treatments. In general, shoot dry weight was more directly related to the total amount of N applied than to the C: N ratio of the substrate. The nutritional status (foliar N and P) also was investigated for one grass and one legume species.

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