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Title: Nitrogen availability and indirect measurements of greenhouse gas emissions from aerobic and anaerobic biowaste digestates applied to agricultural soils

Highlights: • Nitrogen release in digestate-amended soil depends on the digestate type. • Overall N release is modulated by digestate mineral and mineralisable N contents. • Microbial immobilisation does not influence overall release of digestate N in soil. • Digestate physical properties and soil type interact to affect overall N recovery. • High labile C inputs in digestate may promote denitrification in fine-textured soil. - Abstract: Recycling biowaste digestates on agricultural land diverts biodegradable waste from landfill disposal and represents a sustainable source of nutrients and organic matter (OM) to improve soil for crop production. However, the dynamics of nitrogen (N) release from these organic N sources must be determined to optimise their fertiliser value and management. This laboratory incubation experiment examined the effects of digestate type (aerobic and anaerobic), waste type (industrial, agricultural and municipal solid waste or sewage sludge) and soil type (sandy loam, sandy silt loam and silty clay) on N availability in digestate-amended soils and also quantified the extent and significance of the immobilisation of N within the soil microbial biomass, as a possible regulatory mechanism of N release. The digestate types examined included: dewatered, anaerobically digested biosolids (DMAD); dewatered, anaerobic mesophilic digestate from the organicmore » fraction of municipal solid waste (DMADMSW); liquid, anaerobic co-digestate of food and animal slurry (LcoMAD) and liquid, thermophilic aerobic digestate of food waste (LTAD). Ammonium chloride (NH{sub 4}Cl) was included as a reference treatment for mineral N. After 48 days, the final, maximum net recoveries of mineral N relative to the total N (TN) addition in the different digestates and unamended control treatments were in the decreasing order: LcoMAD, 68%; LTAD, 37%, DMAD, 20%; and DMADMSW, 11%. A transient increase in microbial biomass N (MBN) was observed with LTAD application, indicating greater microbial activity in amended soil and reflecting the lower stability of this OM source, compared to the other, anaerobic digestate types, which showed no consistent effects on MBN compared to the control. Thus, the overall net release of digestate N in different soil types was not regulated by N transfer into the soil microbial biomass, but was determined primarily by digestate properties and the capacity of the soil type to process and turnover digestate N. In contrast to the sandy soil types, where nitrate (NO{sub 3}{sup -}) concentrations increased during incubation, there was an absence of NO{sub 3}{sup -} accumulation in the silty clay soil amended with LTAD and DMADMSW. This provided indirect evidence for denitrification activity and the gaseous loss of N, and the associated increased risk of greenhouse gas emissions under certain conditions of labile C supply and/or digestate physical structure in fine-textured soil types. The significance and influence of the interaction between soil type and digestate stability and physical properties on denitrification processes in digestate-amended soils require urgent investigation to ensure management practices are appropriate to minimise greenhouse gas emissions from land applied biowastes.« less
Authors:
;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22300337
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Waste Management; Journal Volume: 33; Journal Issue: 12; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; AMMONIUM CHLORIDES; BIOMASS; CAPACITY; CLAYS; DENITRIFICATION; GREENHOUSE GASES; LOAM; MATERIALS RECOVERY; NITRATES; NITROGEN; NUTRIENTS; ORGANIC MATTER; ORGANIC WASTES; PHYSICAL PROPERTIES; RECYCLING; SANITARY LANDFILLS; SEWAGE SLUDGE; SOLID WASTES