Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Designer Composts May Combat Phosphorus Overload

Date:
April 10, 2005
Source:
USDA / Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
There are designer handbags and designer shoes, so why not designer compost? Agricultural Research Service scientists are studying environmentally friendly composts that help keep phosphorus from seeping into water supplies.

Compost site operator Randy Townsend turns the windrows as necessary to replenish oxygen and mix the organic material for efficient composting.
Credit: Photo by Ken Hammond

There are designer handbags and designer shoes, so why not designer compost? Agricultural Research Service scientists are studying environmentally friendly composts that help keep phosphorus from seeping into water supplies.

Related Articles


Applying manure and composts as nitrogen fertilizer often adds more phosphorus than plants need. This extra phosphorus can then leach or run off into water. But specially formulated composts can make the phosphorus less soluble in water, thus minimizing the chance that it will wash away.

ARS agronomists Rufus Chaney and Eton Codling have been searching for inexpensive ways to make phosphorus less water soluble, or to increase the ability of manure, biosolids and composts to hold onto the phosphorus.

Chaney and Codling, with the ARS Animal Manure and Byproducts Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, found that composts high in iron could markedly help the manure and compost retain phosphorus. Both iron and aluminum oxides increase adsorption of phosphorus. These can be added as chemical additives or by mixing byproducts rich in iron or aluminum with the manure or other feedstocks before composting.

Because phosphorus runoff can damage streams, lakes, rivers and other waterways, limits on soil phosphorus are being proposed. Many states have implemented manure management regulations aimed at preserving groundwater quality and the health of major water sources.

A management tool called the Phosphorus Index (PI) is used to assess the risk of phosphorus loss from agricultural fields to surface waters. In some states, the PI is based on plant-available phosphorus, but the scientists found that adding iron and aluminum oxides to manure or composts reduced the water solubility of phosphorus much more effectively than the PI test indicates.

The findings should help livestock producers limit phosphorus runoff a time when they face tougher restrictions on this valuable soil nutrient.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA / Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA / Agricultural Research Service. "Designer Composts May Combat Phosphorus Overload." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325184544.htm>.
USDA / Agricultural Research Service. (2005, April 10). Designer Composts May Combat Phosphorus Overload. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325184544.htm
USDA / Agricultural Research Service. "Designer Composts May Combat Phosphorus Overload." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050325184544.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins