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

in HortScience

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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