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Biotechnology By-Products as Sources of Nitrogen for Plants

Zhu, B., Tabatabai, M. A., Henning, S. J.
Journal of environmental quality 1995 v.24 no.5 pp. 986-992
Zea mays, ammonium compounds, application rate, biotechnology, byproducts, corn, dry matter accumulation, greenhouse production, growth and development, industry, nitrates, nitrogen, nitrogen fertilizers, nutrients, plant growth, soil amendments, soil pH, Iowa
Recent developments in the biotechnology industries have resulted in production of large quantities of by-products with potential uses as soil amendments and as sources of nutrients for plant growth and development. Many of these by-products contain significant concentrations of organic and inorganic N that can be used by plants. This study evaluated, under greenhouse conditions, seven by-products produced by four biotechnology industries in Iowa for their N-supplying potentials to plants, and the results were compared with a conventional N fertilizer, urea-ammonium nitrate (UAN). Corn (L.) was grown on three Iowa surface soils treated at eight rates of N ranging from 0 to 500 mg of total N pot (1 kg of soil) and harvested after 34 d. Results showed that both dry matter and N yield increased with increasing the rate of N in the by-products applied to soil. Dry matter and N yield responses were similar among the three soils, but differed greatly among the by-products studied. The by-products FSL and FSG were superior N sources. Significant increases in dry matter and N yields were obtained by application of SMB, SS, Mycel, and HSOM. Among the seven by-products studied, PC was a poor N source for corn. The by-product HSOM was very acidic, and FSL and FSG contained high concentrations of NH. Addition of these by-products to soils decreased the soil pH with increasing application rate. Results showed that some biotechnology by-products are potential sources of N for plants and are useful as soil amendments.