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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Microbial C and N Dynamics During Ryegrass Straw Decomposition Application for Composting of High C/n Ratio Substrates

Authors
item Horwath William R, - OSU, CORVALLIS, OR
item Elliott Lloyd F,

Submitted to: Biology and Fertility of Soils
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 19, 1994
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Composting of seed grass straw is an alternative residue disposal practice to open field burning and can produce a high quality soil amendment. We studied microbial processes to understand decomposition dynamics that occur during composting. The results of this research will be used to enhance the composting process and to tailor a better product for soil amendment.

Technical Abstract: Laboratory studies were conducted to determine C and N dynamics during the composting of high C/N ratio (above 30/1) organic materials. Total mineralization of C from the grass straw at 25 and 50 deg C was similar during the 45 day study 46 and 52 deg C, respectively. The addition of N decreased the rate of C mineralization at both temperatures. Size of the microbial biomass was less at 50 deg C than at 25 deg C. The amount of C mineralized per unit of microbial biomass showed an efficiency of utilization, on a total straw basis, of 34 and 28% for the 25 and 50 deg C incubations, respectively. These studies show the feasibility of low-input on-farm composting without co-composting, and the possibility for regulating the quality of the compost end-product.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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