Nitrogen and Phosphorous Absorption and Leaching from Anthurium Plants Grown in Municipal Solid Waste Compost

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  • 1 Univ. of Puerto Rico, Horticulture, Mayaguez, PR 00680-9030, Puerto Rico
  • 2 Univ. of Puerto Rico, Horticulure, Mayaguez, PR 00680-9030
  • 3 Univ. of Puerto Rico, Horticulture, Mayaguez, PR 00680-9030

Municipal solid waste compost (MSW) can be used as an effective substrate for ornamental plant production as an alternative to peat. In a previous study a mix with peat, perlite, and vermiculite (1:1:1 per volume) was used along MSW compost at 1:1 per volume ratio as a growing substrate for Catharanthus roseus, providing nitrogen (N) for adequate plant growth. This study will focus in determining if MSW provides adequate amounts of N and Phosphorous (P) for Anthurium pot plant production, reducing the use of fertilizers and nutrient loss to the environment. Plants were fertilized at 0, 100, 150, and 200 ppm N using a 20-10-20 soluble fertilizer. Chemical characterization of leachates collected from plants grown in substrates with or without MSW, to determine possible nutrient run off. Tissue analysis for N and P content was conducted to determine absorption. Our results shows an increase in NH4 -N, NO3 -N and soluble P in leachates as the fertilizer level increased. Higher NO3 -N content in leachates was observed in treatments with MSW. Higher P concentrations were observed in leachates from substrate without MSW. Weeks after, 62% of the plants grown in MSW were dead; the surviving plants had less biomass, but similar N content in leaf and root tissues than plants grown without MSW. Higher P content in tissues was observed in fertilized plants grown without MSW. The MSW was a nutrient source for the plants, but further studies should be conducted for optimum use of MSW as a component of growing substrate.

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