Zinc Content in Maize (Zea mays L.) and Soils Fertilized with Sewage Sludge and Sewage Sludge Mixed with Peat
K. Gondek
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Department of Agricultural Chemistry, Agricultural University in Kraków, al. Mickiewicza 21, 31-120 Kraków, Poland
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2009;18(3):359–368
This research aimed to assess the effect of fertilization with sewage sludge and their mixtures with peat on maize biomass yield and its zinc concentrations, as well as Zn contents in soils with various textures. The research was conducted as a two-factor (soil and fertilization), three-year pot experiment (2003-05). The soil material used for the experiment revealed the texture of weakly loamy sand (Soil I), sandy silt loam (Soil II) and medium silt loam (Soil III). The sewage sludge originated from two different municipal mechanic and biological treatment plants. The mixtures of sewage sludges with peat were prepared by mixing the organic material in weight ratio 1:1 in conversion to dry matter. Under the experimental conditions fertilization with sewage sludges and sludge mixtures with peat affected maize biomass yield more positively than fertilization with mineral salts. The smallest yield of biomass, irrespective of applied fertilization, was obtained when maize was cultivated in weakly loamy sand (Soil I). In comparison with organic materials and farmyard manure supplied to the soil, the greatest quantities of zinc were assessed in maize fertilized with mineral salts, irrespective of soil type. Sewage sludge mixtures with peat, as compared with sewage sludge used separately, affected maize biomass yields slightly better but had a similar effect on zinc concentrations in the plant biomass. The least of zinc mobile forms were determined in medium silt loam (Soil III). Following the application of organic materials but irrespective of the soil, the content of mobile zinc forms was significantly smaller than the content assessed in the soils from mineral salt treatments.