Physicochemical and biochemical properties of an acid soil under potato culture amended with municipal solid waste compost


1 Departamento de Edafoloxía e Química Agrícola, Facultade de Farmacia, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Praza Seminario de Estudos Galegos S/N, Campus Sur, 15782, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

2 Fomento de Construcciones Y Contratas, Planta de Tratamiento de Residuos de Lousame, Servia (Lousame), A Coruña, Spain

3 Centro de Investigaciones Agrarias de Mabegondo (CIAM), Apdo. 10, A Coruña, Spain


Purpose A feld trial was conducted on a silty-loam soil under potato culture in NW Spain, to assess the efect of municipal solid waste (MSW) compost in a heavily fertilized acid soil. Methods Three doses of compost (0, 30 and 60 Mg compost ha−1 soil) or inorganic fertilization (~ 140 N: 120 P2O5: 240 K2O kg ha−1 soil) were assayed. The efects of compost on soil physical, chemical (nutrient status and potentially toxic trace elements) and biochemical properties were evaluated after 1 and 5 months. Results Compost addition at the highest dose decreased bulk density and increased soil porosity and soil stability against water erosion. Soil pH, total organic C and N, cation exchange capacity and available P, Ca, Mg and K were also higher in compost-amended soils, whereas no efect on NH4 +-N and NO3 −-N was observed. Compost signifcantly increased soil microbial biomass and dehydrogenase activity. Due to the high nutrient status in the control soil, potato yield was not increased by compost or inorganic fertilization. A negative consequence of compost addition was the increased extractability of trace metals such as Zn, Cu, Pb and Ni, although their total concentrations in soil or in potato tubers did not increase with respect to the control. Conclusions Overall, results show that positive efects of MSW compost can be expected even in rich soils that do not need fertilization for maintaining their productive function in the short-term. These positive efects prove the benefts of recycling urban wastes in agricultural soils as a sustainable way of waste management.