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Effects of biomass ash, bone meal, and alkaline slag applied alone and combined on soil acidity and wheat growth

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The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of combined application of biomass ash (BA), bone meal (BM), and alkaline slag (AS) on soil acidity, nutrient contents, uptake of the nutrients by wheat, and wheat growth.

Materials and methods

A pot experiment with an Ultisol collected from Anhui province, China, was conducted to compare the effects of BA, BM, and AS applied alone and combined on soil acidity; soil nutrient contents; uptake of N, P, K, Ca, and Mg by wheat, and wheat growth.

Results and discussion

Application of BA, BM, and AS alone and combined increased soil pH and decreased soil exchangeable Al3+. BA + BM + AS showed the greatest ameliorating effect on soil acidity, and soil pH of the treatment increased by 1.24 units compared with control. Application of BA + BM + AS reduced soil exchangeable Al3+ and increased soil exchangeable calcium and magnesium to a greater extent than BA + BM and single application of the amendments. The BM-containing amendments substantially increased soil available phosphorous by 66–93% compared with control. Application of the amendments alone and combined enhanced the uptake of N, P, K, Ca, and Mg by wheat and thus promoted wheat growth and increased yield of wheat grains. Application of BA + BM + AS and BA + BM showed greater effects on nutrient uptake and wheat growth than single application of the amendments. Wheat straw weights of the two treatments were 11.1 and 10.1 times greater than that of control. The data were 2.7, 4.8, and 5.6 times for the treatments of BA, AS, and BM. The contents of Cd, Cr, Zn, and Cu in wheat grains were lower than standard limits, except for the single BA treatment.


BA + BM + AS is the best choice for amelioration of acid soils and promotion of crop production.

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This study was supported by the National Key Research and Development of China (No. 2016YFD0200302) and the National Key Basic Research Program of China (No. 2014CB441003).

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Correspondence to Ren-kou Xu.

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Responsible editor: Jean-Paul Schwitzguébel

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Shi, R., Li, J., Ni, N. et al. Effects of biomass ash, bone meal, and alkaline slag applied alone and combined on soil acidity and wheat growth. J Soils Sediments 17, 2116–2126 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-017-1673-9

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  • Alkaline slag
  • Biomass ash
  • Bone meal
  • Heavy metals
  • Pot experiment
  • Soil acidity amelioration