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Environmental Technology
Vol. 33, No: (1-3), 2012, Pages: 85 - 94

Agricultural potential of anaerobically digested industrial orange waste with and without aerobic post-treatment

Kaparaju P, Rintala J, Oikari A

Department of Biological and Environmental Science, P.O. Box 35, University of Jyväskylä, FI 40014, Finland.


The potential of anaerobically digested orange waste with (AAD) and without (AD) aerobic post-treatment for use in agriculture was evaluated through chemical analyses, short-term phytotoxicity and long-term plant assays. Chemical analyses showed that AD contained ammonia and organic acids, and aerobic post-treatment did not significantly remove these phytotoxins. The N:P2O5:K2O ratio in AD was 1:0.26:0.96 and aerobic post-treatment did not change the composition in AAD except for K2O (1:0.26:1.24). Heavy metal contents in AD and AAD were more or less the same and were below the upper limit recommended for non-sewage sludge application on agricultural soils. Short-term phytotoxicity tests showed that seed germination and root elongation of Chinese cabbage and ryegrass were severely inhibited at digestate concentrations of 60-100%. Germination index values were well below the score of 50% required to indicate the phytotoxic-free nature of compost. Long-term plant assays showed that AD and AAD, when supplemented with a base fertilizer, resulted in higher plant growth, and fresh weight and dry matter production than AD without base fertilizer. The results thus indicate that aerobic post-treatment did not have any significant beneficial effect on reducing phytotoxicity, and AD could be used as such on agricultural soils, especially with high P.

Keywords:anaerobically digested orange waste,chemical analyses, short-term phytotoxicity and long-term plant assays.


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