Biosolids affect the growth, nitrogen accumulation and nitrogen leaching of barley I., Cardelli R., Pampana S. (2018): Biosolids affect the growth, nitrogen accumulation and nitrogen leaching of barley. Plant Soil Environ., 64: 95-101.
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Biosolids are organic fertilisers derived from treated and stabilised sewage sludge that increase soil fertility and supply nitrogen to crops over a long period, but can also increase the risk of nitrogen (N) leaching. In this work, spring barley was grown in lysimeters filled with soil amended with biosolids, and with and without mineral N fertilisation. Biomass and the N concentration and content of shoots and roots were determined at flowering and maturity, and the N remobilization was calculated during grain filling. Drainage water was collected and analysed for N leaching. Biosolids increased soil porosity and soil nitrate, and positively affected the growth and N uptake of barley. Compared to mineral fertilisers, biosolids produced 18% higher vegetative biomass and 40% higher grain yield. During grain filling, both N uptake and N remobilization were higher with biosolids, which increased the grain N content by 32%. Nitrogen loss in leachates was 1.2% of plant uptake with mineral fertilisers and 1.7% with biosolids. Thus, soil fertilisation with biosolids greatly benefits spring barley, only slightly increasing N leaching.

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