Duckweed as an agricultural amendment: Nitrogen mineralization, leaching, and sorghum uptake

Andrew N. Kreider, Carlos R. Fernandez Pulido, Maryann Victoria Bruns, Rachel Alice Brennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Excessive N and P in surface waters can promote eutrophication (algae-dominated, low-O 2 waters), which decreases water quality and aquatic life. Duckweed (Lemnaceae), a floating aquatic plant, rapidly absorbs N and P from water and its composition shows strong potential as a soil amendment. Therefore, it may be used to transfer N and P from eutrophic water bodies to agricultural fields. In this work, dried duckweed was incorporated into agricultural soil in microcosm, column, and field tests to evaluate biological N cycling, nutrient retention, and crop yield compared with compost, diammonium phosphate (DAP), and an amendment-free control. In microcosm tests, 25 ± 13% of duckweed N was mineralized, providing on average less mineral N than DAP (107 ± 21%), but more than compost (11 ± 12%). In columns, duckweed treatments leached only 2% of the N added, significantly less than DAP, which leached 60% of its N. Compared with the control, DAP leached significantly more phosphate (78%), whereas duckweed and compost treatments leached less (56 and 27%, respectively). Crop yield, as well as runoff N and P, were measured in field tests growing forage sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench.]. Although less total N was applied to duckweed plots than to DAP plots (75 vs. 130 kg ha −1 , respectively), duckweed was found to retain 30% more total mineral N in a tilled agricultural field than DAP, while supporting a comparable yield. These tests indicate that duckweed may provide a sustainable source of N and P for agriculture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-475
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Volume48
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

Fingerprint

sorghum
Leaching
Phosphates
leaching
phosphate
mineralization
Nitrogen
nitrogen
compost
crop yield
microcosm
Crops
Minerals
Soils
Water
Eutrophication
soil amendment
aquatic plant
mineral
Algae

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

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title = "Duckweed as an agricultural amendment: Nitrogen mineralization, leaching, and sorghum uptake",
abstract = "Excessive N and P in surface waters can promote eutrophication (algae-dominated, low-O 2 waters), which decreases water quality and aquatic life. Duckweed (Lemnaceae), a floating aquatic plant, rapidly absorbs N and P from water and its composition shows strong potential as a soil amendment. Therefore, it may be used to transfer N and P from eutrophic water bodies to agricultural fields. In this work, dried duckweed was incorporated into agricultural soil in microcosm, column, and field tests to evaluate biological N cycling, nutrient retention, and crop yield compared with compost, diammonium phosphate (DAP), and an amendment-free control. In microcosm tests, 25 ± 13{\%} of duckweed N was mineralized, providing on average less mineral N than DAP (107 ± 21{\%}), but more than compost (11 ± 12{\%}). In columns, duckweed treatments leached only 2{\%} of the N added, significantly less than DAP, which leached 60{\%} of its N. Compared with the control, DAP leached significantly more phosphate (78{\%}), whereas duckweed and compost treatments leached less (56 and 27{\%}, respectively). Crop yield, as well as runoff N and P, were measured in field tests growing forage sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench.]. Although less total N was applied to duckweed plots than to DAP plots (75 vs. 130 kg ha −1 , respectively), duckweed was found to retain 30{\%} more total mineral N in a tilled agricultural field than DAP, while supporting a comparable yield. These tests indicate that duckweed may provide a sustainable source of N and P for agriculture.",
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Duckweed as an agricultural amendment : Nitrogen mineralization, leaching, and sorghum uptake. / Kreider, Andrew N.; Fernandez Pulido, Carlos R.; Bruns, Maryann Victoria; Brennan, Rachel Alice.

In: Journal of Environmental Quality, Vol. 48, No. 2, 01.03.2019, p. 469-475.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Fernandez Pulido, Carlos R.

AU - Bruns, Maryann Victoria

AU - Brennan, Rachel Alice

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