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Can phosphate salts recovered from manure replace conventional phosphate fertilizer?

: Ehmann, Andrea; Bach, Inga-Mareike; Laopeamthong, Sukhanes; Bilbao, Jennifer; Lewandowski, Iris

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Agriculture 7 (2017), No.1, Art. 1, 20 pp.
ISSN: 2077-0472 (online)
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IGB ()
manure; phosphorus recovery; struvite; biochar; spring barley; faba bean

Pig farming produces more manure than can reasonably be spread onto surrounding fields, particularly in regions with high livestock densities and limited land availability. Nutrient recycling offers an attractive solution for dealing with manure excesses and is one main objective of the European commission-funded project "BioEcoSIM". Phosphate salts ("P-Salt") were recovered from the separated liquid manure fraction. The solid fraction was dried and carbonized to biochar. This study compared the fertilizing performance of P-Salt and conventional phosphate fertilizer and determined whether additional biochar application further increased biomass yields. The fertilizers and biochar were tested in pot experiments with spring barley and faba beans using two nutrient-poor soils. The crops were fertilized with P-Salt at three levels and biochar in two concentrations. Biomass yield was determined after six weeks. Plant and soil samples were analysed for nitrogen, phosphorus an d potassium contents. The P-Salt had similar or even better effects than mineral fertilizer on growth in both crops and soils. Slow release of nutrients can prevent leaching, rendering P-Salt a particularly suitable fertilizer for light sandy soils. Biochar can enhance its fertilizing effect, but the underlying mechanisms need further investigation. These novel products are concluded to be promising candidates for efficient fertilization strategies.