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Maria Del Carmen Libran*, Dania Rivera, and Lizzette Gonzalez

In Puerto Rico, the ornamental crop production is one of the most important agricultural enterprises. The growing media most used to grow ornamentals contains peat moss which is very expensive and everyday results less available. There is a need to conduct studies to evaluate alternate organic components. In Puerto Rico, the Municipal solid waste compost (MSW) has been considered as a possible component for a growing mix to grow plants. Results from chemical properties studies of the MSW compost shows that it is a source of nutrients for plants. A raw MSW is a contaminat to the environment, but once is composted does not represent a hazard to humans or environment. The objective of this research was to evaluate the growth responses of Anthurium plants grown in mixes containing different proportions of MSW with a commercial type of mix containing peat moss. Plant of Rosa cultivar Anthura Co. were grown under six treatments containing proportions of MSW: Peatlite mix (0:100,15:85,25:75,50:50,75:25, and 100:0). Data of growth parameters such as number of leaves, leaf area index, clorophyll content, number of flowers, adn fresh and dry weight was gathered and analyzed. Results did show not significant differences in all treatments on number of leaves and leaves area. Clorophyll content was similar on treatment 0:100,15:85 and 25:75 of MSW: Peatlite mix. Fresh and dry weight (g) were lower in all treatments except on 0:100, which got the highest weight. These results shown that MSW could be considered to be a component of a soiless mix to grow ornamentals in order to reduce cost production and environmental impact.

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Lizzette Gonzalez*, Juan C. Vazquez, and Maria del C. Libran

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.