90 % yield increase of red pepper with unexpectedly low doses of compost soluble substances
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Composts are potential substitutes of mineral fertilizers for sustainable agriculture. Composts are commonly applied to soil at high dose, e.g. from 20 to 30 t (dry matter) per ha and year, to compensate organic matter loss and nutrient depletion. Recently, amendment of soluble substances from urban compost at a much lower dose of 1.55 t per ha enhanced tomato productivity much more than the compost itself. Here, we studied the effect of soluble substances at 0–700 kg per ha on red pepper. We measured productivity, chlorophyll, and soil chemical composition. The most remarkable result is an observed maximum productivity for only 140 kg per ha of compost soluble substances. The increases amounted to 90 % for the precocious crop yield, to 66 % for the total crop production, and to 17 % for the per fruit weight. The discovery that the highest effects occur at such low treatment dose is very promising to enhance crop productivity in a sustainable way. No detectable change of soil chemical composition was observed.
KeywordsBiophotosensitizers Bio-refuse Chlorophyll Photosynthesis Plant growth-productivity Renewable carbon cycle
This work was carried partly with Regione Piemonte Cipe 2006 funds within the Biochemenergy project and partly with Ministero delle Politiche Agricole funds within the Agrienergia project. The authors are grateful to the following private and/or public Italian institutions: (a) the Piombo farm by Giovanni Gambuzza for making available the greenhouse installation located along the sea shore in Punta Secca in the province of Ragusa; (b) Acea Pinerolese Spa in Pinerolo (TO) for supplying the soluble substances sourcing compost; (c) Studio Chiono ed Associati in Rivarolo Canavese (TO) for making available pilot equipment and services for the production of the soluble substances.
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