Ever thought of putting sewage on your plants? Scientists say thermally conditioned sewage sludge serves as an excellent fertilizer to improve soil properties. This was recently published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Nutrition. The major advantage over commercial fertilizers? Sustainable re-use of essential and finite phosphorus resources.
Phosphorus is a key nutrient for all living beings. When deficient in the diet, it severely compromises human health, and when deficient in agriculture, it restricts crop productivity. Without phosphorus, there can be no food production.
As the source of phosphorus is non-renewable phosphate rocks, there is a strong need for increased recycling to ensure phosphorus security. Efficient use and reduced environmental dissemination of phosphorus throughout the food system is needed to secure the ability to feed a growing global population.
As technological improvements increased the phosphorus content of sewage sludge, it now is a readily available alternative to commercial fertilizers in agriculture. To assess its effectiveness, Andry Andriamananjara from the University of Antananarivo (Madagascar) and his colleagues used a phosphorus radiotracer technique to measure the availability of phosphorus for plants in thermally conditioned sewage sludge.
They grew ryegrass in pots filled with soil that underwent isotopic P-labelling, and added either no fertilizer, thermally conditioned sewage sludge as fertilizer, or commercial triple superphosphate fertilizer. Shoot and roots were harvested at fixed intervals, and their radioactivity was analyzed to measure phosphorus uptake.
As expected, fertilizer application increased shoot biomass significantly over the harvest time, while only a trend towards an increase in root biomass was found. The addition of fertilizer increased phosphorus uptake by the plants. This wasn’t only because the fertilizer offered an additional phosphorus source, but also because the plants increased their soil exploitation.
However, total phosphorus uptake from thermally conditioned sewage sludge was lower than that from the commercial fertilizer. This could be explained by the fact that the phosphorus in the water-soluble commercial fertilizer is immediately available for plant uptake after application, whereas the phosphorus in thermally conditioned sewage sludge is present in a lower available form. Moreover, the other nutrients present in the sludge stimulated the microbial activity, thereby inducing competition between microorganisms and the plant roots for phosphorus uptake.
Dr. Andriamananjara would still recommend the usage of sewage sludge as fertilizer. He said: “It was shown to have a higher agronomic effectiveness in comparison with commercial fertilizer. Although on the short term it enhanced the microbial biomass and therefore phosphorus immobilization, on the longer term the phosphorus captured by this microbial biomass can again become available for the plants. Moreover, sewage sludge is a non-limited continuously available and sustainable fertilizer source.”
This research was published in the Research Topic “Sustainable Phosphorus”. This Topic gather papers covering the various issues regarding the efficient and sustainable use of phosphorus resources at a range of scales: from local to global, from agriculture to waste management.
The Latest on: Sewage sludge
via Google News
The Latest on: Sewage sludge
- Residents in Fareham are furious as sewage floods garages and gardens on February 19, 2019 at 1:40 am
Mr Jenner said: ‘They pumped out the sewage and then flushed out the area with a jet spray. The sludge has ended up getting pushed to the back of the garage area. I am really concerned about what cont... […]
- Projects worth Rs 1387.71 crore in Yamuna towns approved under Namami Gange on February 18, 2019 at 9:03 pm
renovation of sewage pumping stations and operations and maintenance of 29 nala tappings. The committee approved a project worth Rs 2.70 crore for Faecal Sludge Management and Pollution Abatement in C... […]
- Ganga Mission clears ₹1,388-cr projects on Yamuna on February 18, 2019 at 8:53 am
The NMCG also cleared sewage infrastructure projects worth ₹ 140.6 crore in ... 77 crore worth works in Baghpat and a faecal sludge management project in Chunar, to be implemented with the help of the ... […]
- Biosolids Market to Observe Strong Development by 2026 on February 17, 2019 at 2:31 pm
Biosolids, commonly referred to as sewage sludge, are the leftover sludge from wastewater treatment. Biosolids are considered organic solids derived from the sewage treatment processes that are in a s... […]
- Precious Metal Tracks Nanoplastics on February 15, 2019 at 5:06 pm
Many of them land directly in sewage as soon as the products are used ... method on a laboratory scale to study the behaviour of nanoplastics in the activated sludge process of a water-treatment plant ... […]
- Microplastics in sewage sludge spread on land to come under microscope on February 14, 2019 at 10:07 pm
'Our inputs costs only ever go in one direction and that’s upwards' - Surging... Ciaran Moran Twitter Email Research is intensifying on the impact of spreading sewage sludge on farmland in spreading m... […]
- Beijing's sewage pipeline construction exceeds 3-year target on February 14, 2019 at 5:20 pm
Beijing has built 1,487 kilometers of new sewage pipelines, and upgraded 434 kilometers of ... than 4.2 million cubic meters of wastewater daily and treating 6,128 tons of sludge per day, thus remarka... […]
- South Jersey sewage plant makes energy from wind, solar — and meatball grease on February 12, 2019 at 5:02 pm
For example, since 2012, the Philadelphia Water Department has converted biosolids (industry parlance for treated sewage sludge) into germ-free pellets used as organic fertilizer or renewable fuel. It ... […]
- State Raises Safety Concerns at S.F. Ocean Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant on February 11, 2019 at 12:18 pm
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission says it's made a series of safety improvements at the sewage plant that serves the west ... prevent workers from inhaling exhaust that arises when sludge ... […]
- Call for Action on Sewage Treatment with No-Sludge Production on February 9, 2019 at 2:46 pm
In late 2018, The Maritime Executive featured an editorial by me, Dr. Wei Chen of Wärtsilä Water Systems, on the subject of pollution by sewage from ships which suggested a widening gap between the ma... […]
via Bing News