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J Hazard Mater. 2010 Feb 15;174(1-3):700-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2009.09.107. Epub 2009 Sep 25.

Sewage sludge sugarcane trash based compost and synthetic aggregates as peat substitutes in containerized media for crop production.

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The United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Kagoshima University, 1-21-24 Korimoto, Kagoshima 890-0065, Japan.


Effect of partial substitution of peat in growth media by sewage sludge sugarcane trash based compost (SSC) and synthetic aggregates (SA) on the physical and chemical characteristics of the growth media and on the growth and nutrition of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) grown in the substituted media was investigated under this study. SSC was produced from sugarcane trash and sewage sludge. Unconventional SA were produced by low productive acidic red soil with paper waste and starch waste. The treatments assayed were: SSC (40%)+Peat (60%), SA (40%)+Peat (60%), SSC (60%)+SA (40%), SSC (40%)+SA (20%)+Peat (40%) and SSC (40%)+SA (40%)+Peat (20%). Peat only was used as the control. The physical and chemical properties of all growing media were analyzed. SSC-SA based substrates showed adequate physical and chemical properties compared to peat for their use as growing media in horticulture. In relation to the plant growth in peat control, plants grown in the SSC-SA based substrates reached better growth and nutrition. The concentration of trace elements in plant tissues was far lower than the ranges considered phytotoxic for plants. Utilization of SSC and SA can be considered as an alternative media component to substitute the widely using expensive peat in horticulture.

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