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Effect of lignite humic acid treatment on the rate of decomposition of wheat straw

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Comparisons were made between the rates of microbial respiration during the incubation of milled wheat straw in the presence or absence of a dispersal of lignite humic acids. Lignite treatment significantly reduced both the rate of O2 consumption and CO2 evolution from the straw substrate over a 4-week period. In view of this observed inhibitory effect, additions of exogenous humic acids from lignite during composting might have a practical application as a means of increasing the microbial stability of horticultural composts derived from plant waste materials.

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Whiteley, G.M., Pettit, C. Effect of lignite humic acid treatment on the rate of decomposition of wheat straw. Biol Fert Soils 17, 18–20 (1994).

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Key words

  • Humic acids
  • Peat substitute composts
  • Straw decomposition
  • Soil respiration