Effect of pellets made of waste materials from the paper industry enhanced with seaweed (Ulva lactuca L.) on N mineralization and lettuce production

Valesca B. San Martín1, Pablo Undurraga2, Celerino Quezada1, José E. Celis3, and Marco A. Sandoval1*
The need to reduce the use of traditional fertilizers and prevent soil degradation demands the search for new ways of fertilization. The combined application of waste materials (generated by the paper industry) and seaweed may be an alternative source of fertilization. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of pellets made of waste materials ash and sludge, produced by the paper industry with the addition of seaweed (Ulva lactuca L.) on the production of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) as an indicator plant and N mineralization in the soil. Two trials were conducted on an Entisol soil. The first trial evaluated the productive response of lettuce to the combined application of pellet+seaweed. Lettuce plants were grown in pots under greenhouse conditions for 3-mo. Three types of pellets, with and without seaweed added, were applied in doses of 10, 20, and 30 t ha-1. N mineralization was measured by 12 wk incubation, evaluating the three types of pellets with and without the addition of seaweed. The results showed that all the combined pellet+seaweed treatments had higher aerial biomass production (p ≤ 0.05) and increased chlorophyll content. The aerial biomass production reached 4.16 g pot-1 and was 7-fold higher than pellet treatments without seaweed, while chlorophyll content was 17% higher (p ≤ 0.05). In terms of N mineralization, the maximum release was recorded in the Pellet 3+seaweed treatment, reaching 55 mg kg-1. All the treatments with seaweed (p ≤ 0.05) better higher N mineralization values compared to the treatments without seaweed. Similarly, increased values for potentially mineralizable N and mineralization rate constant were observed in the treatments that included pellets+seaweed and seaweed alone compared to those consisting of pellets alone. The pellets+seaweed amendments resulted in an increase in soil N mineralization and production parameters of lettuce.
Keywords: Biomass ash, Lactuca sativa, N mineralization, paper industry sludge, seaweed.
1Universidad de Concepción, Facultad de Agronomía, Avenida Vicente Méndez 595, Chillán, Chile.*Corresponding author (masandov@udec.cl).2Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, INIA Quilamapu, Avenida Vicente Méndez 515, Chillán, Chile.3Universidad de Concepción, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria, Avenida Vicente Méndez 595, Chillán, Chile.