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Mohamed Badrane Erhioui, A. Karam, and S. Yelle

The large amount of organic carbon content present in de-inking residues makes them attractive for use in agricultural soils as an organic soil amendment. Greenhouse bioessays were undertaken to evaluate the agronomic value of de-inking sludge (DS). It was incorporated in a sandy soil to study the effects of different rates of de-inking residue amendments and N fertilizer combinations on soil properties and growth of corn. Particular attention was given to trace element concentrations. In a split factorial design, three variables were investigated: harvest time (after 20, 40, and 60 days), application rates of DS (0, 35, 70, and 105 t·ha–1), and four N rates (0, 140, 280, and 420 kg·ha–1). Chemical analyses of the fresh residues did not indicate the presence of heavy metals at levels potentially toxic to the environment. Soil chemical properties were clearly improved following the incorporation of DS. For example, adding different amounts of DS had a significant impact on the pH, the cation exchange capacity, and soil moisture. In addition, salinity was not affected with DS application. Seed germination was high in all the treatments and was not significantly influenced by DS application. Moreover, results on vegetative growth indicated a good relationship between the C:N ratio and biomass production. The DS combined with supplemental fertilizer seems to have a positive effect on plant growth. Overall, these results suggest that the limiting factor in de-inking paper sludge valorization is the amount of N available to the plant. Also, no other toxic products were found that could be harmful to the environment.

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Mohamed Badrane Erhioui, M. Dorais, A. Gosselin, and A.P. Papadopulos

Most experiments on the effects of cover materials on greenhouse crops have provided no real statistical replication for the cover materials. This study was conducted in Winter 1996 at the Harrow Research Centre (Ontario) in nine minihouses covered with glass (single-glass), D-poly (double inflated polyethylene film), and acrylic (rigid twin acrylic panel) offering a 3 × 3 latin square experimental design. Tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) were grown in CO2-enriched atmosphere (1000 ppm) under three covering materials, and two light treatments (natural light, and supplemental light at 65 μmol·m–2·s–1) in order to determine the effects of supplemental light on growth, photosynthesis, reproductive carbon allocation, and evolution of carbohydrates synthesis in the diurnal cycles. Overall, the application of supplemental light increased photosynthesis rate, yields, harvest index, total chlorophyll content, and starch accumulation in all treatments, regardless of the type of cover materials. Early marketable yield in acrylic and D-poly houses was higher than in glasshouses. Plants grown under enhanced light intensity flowered earlier and produced 12% more marketable fruits than those grown under natural light. The photosynthetic rate of plants grown in acrylic houses was higher than that of plants grown in glasshouses and those grown in D-poly. The leaves of plants grown in acrylic and D-poly houses had higher dry mass contents and much higher specific leaf weight (>10%) than plants in glasshouses. The net photosynthesis dropped after 3 months of treatment, accompanied by a high accumulation of carbohydrates in the leaves. These results indicate that a photosynthetic acclimation occurs earlier during the growth period suggesting a limitations in carbon metabolism.