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  • Writer's pictureJags Pandhal

New paper: Circular economy fertilization: Testing micro and macro algal species as soil improvers a

If inorganic nutrients are being run-off into natural water systems due to intense agricultural practices, why not design an integrated process, where nutrients can be captured by algal biomass and subsequently recycled back onto land?

What impact could the algal biomass have? read Emanga's paper through the following link:

The abstract is below:

Nutrient losses from agricultural land to freshwater and marine environments contribute to eutrophication and often to the growth of algal blooms. However, the potential benefits of recycling this algal biomass back to agricultural land for soil quality and crop nutrition in a “circular-economy” has received little attention. We tested the effects of algal additions to arable soil in greenhouse-grown garden peas, and field plots of spring wheat, on plant growth and nutrition and physical and chemical properties of the soil. Representatives of five algal species, which contrasted in elemental composition, were applied at 0.2, 2 and 4 g kg-1 in the greenhouse and at 24 g m2 in the field. These included the cyanobacteria Arthrospira platensis (Spirulina), the unicellular green algae Chlorella sp., the red seaweed Palmaria palmata, and the brown seaweeds Laminaria digitata and Ascophyllum nodosum. In the greenhouse at the highest application rates (4 g kg-1), Chlorella sp., and Spirulina increased soil total nitrogen and available phosphorus, and Spirulina also increased soil nitrate concentrations. P. palmata and L. digitata significantly increased soil inorganic (NH4+ and NO3-) concentrations under all three application rates. Chlorella sp. significantly increased soil total P, N and C, available P, NH4+-N, and pea yield. Soil water-stable aggregates were unchanged by the algal additions in both the greenhouse and field study. In the field, 4 species (Chlorella sp. Spirulina, P. palmata and L. digitata) increased soil inorganic nitrogen concentrations, confirming their potential to recycle mineralizable nitrogen to agricultural soils, but no significant effects were found on wheat yields under the application rates tested.

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