Pelletized paper mill waste promotes nutrient input and N mineralization in a degraded Alfisol

Pablo Undurraga1, 5, Juan Hirzel1, José Celis2, Carla Perez3 and Marco A. Sandoval4*
Pulp and paper mill waste, such as biomass fly ash and sewage sludge, is commonly disposed of in landfills. This waste can be valuable as nutrients and C sources for degraded soils. Ash and sludge samples were chemically characterized before ash/sludge pellets were experimentally manufactured for use as soil amendment. An incubation experiment was carried out with controlled moisture and temperature; nutrient input and N mineralization were evaluated at 0, 15, 30, 45, and 60 d intervals using three pellet types with different proportions of ash, sludge, and gypsum (as a binder) and applied at four doses equivalent to 0, 10, 20, and 40 Mg ha-1. Results indicated that the Alfisol that was amended with pelletized residues increased P Olsen and exchangeable K and Ca contents, as well as soil pH (p < 0.05) in direct response to the applied doses. Organic matter decreased during incubation at all the doses and pellet types (p < 0.05); however, N mineralization did not show a clear pattern during incubation. Nitrogen mineralization potential (N0) was different depending on pellet types and application rates; Pellet 2 (10% sludge) exhibited the highest N0 values, while Pellet 3 (20% sludge) had lower N0 than the control. Pulp and paper mill waste can be used to amend degraded soils by creating sustainable use through pelletizing because it facilitates transport and can evenly distribute sludge and ash on soils in a single application.
Keywords: Nitrogen modeling, pulp and paper mill waste, pelletized waste, pelletized ash/sludge, soil incubation.
1Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, INIA Quilamapu, Av. Vicente Méndez 515, Chillán, Chile.
2Universidad de Concepción, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Av. Vicente Méndez 595, Chillán, Chile.
3Universidad de Concepción, Unidad de Desarrollo Tecnológico (UDT), Cordillera 2634, Coronel, Chile.
4Universidad de Concepción, Facultad de Agronomía, Av. Vicente Méndez 595, Chillán, Chile.
*Corresponding author (masandov@udec.cl).
5Universidad de Concepción, Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias de la Agronomía, Av. Vicente Méndez 595, Chillán, Chile