Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/24/2003
Publication Date: 11/2/2003
Citation: MEANS, N., STARBUCK, C., KREMER, R.J., JETT, L. EFFECTS OF MICROBIALLY INOCULATED, FERMENTED FOOD WASTE SOIL CONDITIONER ON SOIL PROPERTIES AND PLANT GROWTH. ASA-CSSA-SSSA ANNUAL MEETING ABSTRACTS. 2003. CD-ROM. MADISON, WI.
Technical Abstract: Soil conditioners prepared from composted food wastes recycle nutrients while improving soil quality and growth of crop plants. Fermentation circumvents odor and pest problems associated with traditional composting. The objective of this study was to evaluate effects of a soil conditioner based on microbially inoculated, fermented, food waste on melon (Cucumis melo) plant growth and soil microbial activity and nutrient levels. Food waste generated from a residence dining hall was fermented with and without a microbial inoculant for 14 days. The resulting soil conditioners were tilled into the top 20 cm of a Mexico silt loam (fine, montmorillonitic, mesic Mollic Endoaqualf) at 20 to 30% by volume, 3 to 4 weeks before transplanting melons. Soil nutrient levels and microbial activity were monitored to identify effects of soil conditioners on soil properties and plant growth. Application of microbially inoculated soil conditioner increased the number of fruit per plant and average fruit weight per plant more than 13-13-13 (N-P-K) fertilizer + no soil amendment but not more than the non-inoculated soil conditioner. It was not possible to explain the increased melon growth and yield in soil conditioner-amended plots based on data collected on nutrient levels and microbial activity.