Soybean Fertilized by P-Phases from Bagasse-Based Materials: P-Extraction Procedures, Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films (DGT), and X-ray Diffraction Analysis (XRD)
The Brazilian sugarcane industry produced around 173 million tons (Mt) of bagasse in 2018. Bagasse is a by-product of juice extraction for ethanol and sugar production and is combusted in order to generate power, producing up to 10 Mt of ash per year. This ash contains various concentrations of plant nutrients, which allow the ash to be used as a crop fertilizer. However, the concentration and extractability of phosphorus (P), an essential plant nutrient, are low in bagasse ash. To increase the P content, we co-gasified and co-combusted bagasse with P-rich chicken manure. The resulting ash was thermochemically post-treated with alkali additives (Na2SO4 and K2SO4) to increase the availability of P to plants. We aimed to: (i) investigate the effect of thermochemical post-treatment of co-gasification residue and co-combustion ash on P availability to soybeans, (ii) explore the potential of chemical extraction methods (citric acid, neutral ammonium citrate, formic acid, and Mehlich-I) and diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) to predict the availability of P to soybeans, and (iii) identify the responsible P-phases using X-ray diffraction . We evaluated P availability to soybeans growing in Brazilian Oxisol soil in two independent greenhouse pot experiments. The positive effect of thermochemical treatment on P availability from gasification residue was confirmed through the observation of increased P uptake and biomass in soybean plants. These findings were confirmed by chemical extraction methods and DGT. The gasification residue contained whitlockite as its main P-bearing phase. Thermochemical post-treatment converted whitlockite into highly soluble CaNaPO4. In contrast, co-combustion ash already contained highly soluble Ca(Na,K)PO4 as its main P-bearing phase, making thermochemical post-Agronomy 2020, 10, 895 2 of 24treatment unnecessary for increasing P availability. In conclusion, increased extractability and availability of P for soybeans were closely connected to the formation of calcium alkali phosphate. Our findings indicate that this combined methodology allows for the prediction of P-fertilization effects of ash.
Institute of Bio- and Geosciences, IBG-2: Plant Sciences, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH