Main content area

Fertilising effect of sewage sludge ash inoculated with the phosphate-solubilising fungus Penicillium bilaiae under semi-field conditions

Raymond, Nelly Sophie, Jensen, Lars Stoumann, van der Bom, Frederik, Nicolaisen, Mette Haubjerg, Müller-Stöver, Dorette
Biology and fertility of soils 2019 v.55 no.1 pp. 43-51
Penicillium, field experimentation, fungi, in vitro studies, phosphorus, phosphorus fertilizers, phytomass, rhizosphere, sludge ash, soil
Sewage sludge ashes provide interesting possibilities to recycle phosphorus (P) to soil, although the immediate plant availability is often low. The objective of this work was to increase the P-fertilising effect of sewage sludge ash through inoculation with the phosphate-solubilising fungus Penicillium bilaiae. In a soil incubation study, ash amendment enhanced the content of water-extractable P, but in contrast to previous in vitro experiments, inoculation with P. bilaiae did not further increase P availability, probably due to limited competitiveness of the fungus in soil. In a micro-plot field trial, a moderate P fertiliser effect of the ash was found without any additional effect of P. bilaiae ash inoculation on plant biomass and P-uptake. However, soil microbial functions determined by the MicroResp™ method were not negatively affected by the ash amendment. In conclusion, inoculation with P. bilaiae did not prove to be a suitable strategy to enhance P availability from sewage sludge ash. A better insight into the fungus’ ecology and colonisation ability in soil and rhizosphere as well as into its interactions with ash P is needed to further develop such alternative P-fertilising approaches.