Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 102, Issue 2, pp 243–252 | Cite as

Suitability of different organic amendments from agro-industrial wastes in organic lettuce crops

  • Francesco Montemurro
  • Corrado Ciaccia
  • Rita Leogrande
  • Francesco Ceglie
  • Mariangela DiaconoEmail author
Original Article


An inadequate replacement of organic matter in agricultural lands progressively leads to soil fertility reduction and therefore, soil application of organic fertilizers and amendments should be promoted. The objectives of this 3-year research project on organic lettuce were to investigate the agronomic performance of experimental organic amendments obtained by using agro-industrial wastes in comparison with a commercial organic fertilizer, and to evaluate their short-term effects on soil mineral-N and soil organic carbon changes. Two types of olive pomace mixtures, with different initial C/N ratios, were composted and either stopped at the active phase (A1 and B1) or processed until maturation (A2 and B2). Also an anaerobic digestate (DA) and the B2 in combination with mineral fertilizer (B2-MIN) were studied. The four composts, DA and B2-MIN were compared with a commercial organic fertilizer (Org), and an unfertilized control (N0). Results suggested that the best compromise for organic lettuce yield and soil fertility could be obtained with the B2 compost, thus highlighting the need for choosing a good stage of maturity of the compost, along with an appropriate C/N ratio of composting mixture, to improve the fertilizing efficiency of agro-food residues in organic farming. Furthermore, the application of immature amendments did not increase (B1) or significantly reduce (A1) marketable lettuce yield, indicating that the choice of organic fertilizer is an important concern in sustainable agriculture, especially in organic vegetable production.


Agro-food residues Olive pomace compost Anaerobic digestate Organic farming Agronomic performance 



The research has been supported by Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies, in the framework of the CONSSABIO (Compost di qualità per la conservazione del suolo e la sostenibilità delle produzioni in agricoltura biologica) research project (DM 297/7303/06).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Montemurro
    • 1
  • Corrado Ciaccia
    • 2
  • Rita Leogrande
    • 3
  • Francesco Ceglie
    • 4
  • Mariangela Diacono
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Research Unit for Cropping Systems in Dry Environments (Azienda Sperimentale Metaponto)Consiglio per la Ricerca e l’analisi dell’economia Agraria – CRA-SCAMetapontoItaly
  2. 2.Research Centre for the Soil–Plant SystemConsiglio per la Ricerca e l’analisi dell’economia Agraria – CRA-RPSRomaItaly
  3. 3.Research Unit for Cropping Systems in Dry EnvironmentsConsiglio per la Ricerca e l’analisi dell’economia Agraria – CRA-SCABariItaly
  4. 4.CIHEAM – MAIB, Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of BariValenzanoItaly

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