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Short-duration hydrothermal fermentation of food waste: preparation of soil conditioner for amending organic-matter-impoverished arable soils

Hou, Jiaqi, Li, Mingxiao, Xi, Beidou, Tan, Wenbing, Ding, Jie, Hao, Yan, Liu, Dongming, Liu, Hongliang
Environmental science and pollution research international 2017 v.24 no.26 pp. 21283-21297
Cyanobacteria, arable soils, byproducts, carbon sinks, crops, fermentation, food waste, molecular weight, nutrient availability, nutrients, nutrition, organic matter, raw materials, soil conditioners, soil microorganisms, spectral analysis
Soil conditioners can be used to compensate for the insufficient soil nutrition and organic matter (OM) of arable soils. However, the traditional preparation method for soil conditioners is lengthy and requires facilities that occupy large tracts of land. In this study, a short-duration hydrothermal fermentation (SHF) method was developed for the preparation of soil conditioners from food waste. The SHF method required only 18 h to produce soil conditioners with physicochemical characteristics that were similar to those of soil conditioners obtained through traditional fermentation (TF), which takes 20 days to complete. Inoculation and dynamic SHF significantly affected the distribution of different molecular weight fractions in the prepared soil conditioners. The results of spectral analysis revealed that a large amount of soluble microbial byproducts and carbohydrate C formed in the SHF soil conditioner. This effect indicated that the SHF soil conditioner supplied not only immediately available nutrients, which can stimulate the growth of soil microbial communities, but also provided sustained-release nutrients for the long-term cultivation of crops on OM-impoverished soils. Cyanobacteria were present in the SHF soil conditioner at a relative abundance of 6.29%, which was 28.6 and 314.5 times those in the raw material and TF soil conditioner, respectively. Amending OM-impoverished soil with the SHF soil conditioner enhanced the carbon pool management index of the resulting SHF soil by 1.50 and 1.12 times those of unfertilized soil and TF soil, respectively. These results indicated that the SHF soil exhibited a high capacity to supply nutrients for crop growth.