Vermicompost Improves Tomato Yield and Quality and the Biochemical Properties of Soils with Different Tomato Planting History in a Greenhouse Study.
ABSTRACT: A greenhouse pot test was conducted to study the impacts of replacing mineral fertilizer with organic fertilizers for one full growing period on soil fertility, tomato yield and quality using soils with different tomato planting history. Four types of fertilization regimes were compared: (1) conventional fertilizer with urea, (2) chicken manure compost, (3) vermicompost, and (4) no fertilizer. The effects on plant growth, yield and fruit quality and soil properties (including microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen, [Formula: see text]-N, [Formula: see text]-N, soil water-soluble organic carbon, soil pH and electrical conductivity) were investigated in samples collected from the experimental soils at different tomato growth stages. The main results showed that: (1) vermicompost and chicken manure compost more effectively promoted plant growth, including stem diameter and plant height compared with other fertilizer treatments, in all three types of soil; (2) vermicompost improved fruit quality in each type of soil, and increased the sugar/acid ratio, and decreased nitrate concentration in fresh fruit compared with the CK treatment; (3) vermicompost led to greater improvements in fruit yield (74%), vitamin C (47%), and soluble sugar (71%) in soils with no tomato planting history compared with those in soils with long tomato planting history; and (4) vermicompost led to greater improvements in soil quality than chicken manure compost, including higher pH (averaged 7.37 vs. averaged 7.23) and lower soil electrical conductivity (averaged 204.1 vs. averaged 234.6 ?S/cm) at the end of experiment in each type of soil. We conclude that vermicompost can be recommended as a fertilizer to improve tomato fruit quality and yield and soil quality, particularly for soils with no tomato planting history.
Project description:The long-term application of excessive chemical fertilizers has resulted in the degeneration of soil quality parameters such as soil microbial biomass, communities, and nutrient content, which in turn affects crop health, productivity, and soil sustainable productivity. The objective of this study was to develop a rapid and efficient solution for rehabilitating degraded cropland soils by precisely quantifying soil quality parameters through the application of manure compost and bacteria fertilizers or its combination during maize growth. We investigated dynamic impacts on soil microbial count, biomass, basal respiration, community structure diversity, and enzyme activity using six different treatments [no fertilizer (CK), N fertilizer (N), N fertilizer + bacterial fertilizer (NB), manure compost (M), manure compost + bacterial fertilizer (MB), and bacterial fertilizer (B)] in the plowed layer (0-20 cm) of potted soil during various maize growth stages in a temperate cropland of eastern China. Denaturing gradient electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting analysis showed that the structure and composition of bacterial and fungi communities in the six fertilizer treatments varied at different levels. The Shannon index of bacterial and fungi communities displayed the highest value in the MB treatments and the lowest in the N treatment at the maize mature stage. Changes in soil microorganism community structure and diversity after different fertilizer treatments resulted in different microbial properties. Adding manure compost significantly increased the amount of cultivable microorganisms and microbial biomass, thus enhancing soil respiration and enzyme activities (p<0.01), whereas N treatment showed the opposite results (p<0.01). However, B and NB treatments minimally increased the amount of cultivable microorganisms and microbial biomass, with no obvious influence on community structure and soil enzymes. Our findings indicate that the application of manure compost plus bacterial fertilizers can immediately improve the microbial community structure and diversity of degraded cropland soils.
Project description:Phytochemicals and antioxidant properties of red sweet pepper cv Topepo grown in soil amended with different organic fertilizers were compared with that grown in unamended soil. Organic fertilizers are an environmentally friendly alternative to recovery infertile soils that resulted from the intensified agricultural practices in red Topepo production. The aim was to discriminate the effects of organic fertilizers one from each other on the quality of red Topepo to find out the better sustainable fertilization practice for its cultivation. Results showed that compost from vegetable residues (CV) enhanced the synthesis of total phenols, flavonoids, ascorbic acid, vitamin E, carotenoids, anthocyanins, as well as carbohydrates, antioxidant activities, and aroma profiling, compared to horse manure (HD), compost from olive pomace (CO), and control (CTR). The results indicated a specificity between the quality of red Topepo and compost composition, highlighting that vegetable residues increased the synthesis of secondary metabolites, enhancing sustainably, the nutraceutical, sensorial, and economic value of red Topepo. The fertilizer composition resulted largely responsible for the synthesis of bioactive compounds, flavor, and aroma of this fruit.
Project description:Nutrient management practices play a significant role in improving the nutritional quality of tomato. The present study deals with the evaluation of compost prepared using Effective Microorganisms (EM), on antioxidant and defense enzyme activities of Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). A field experiment with five treatments (control, chemical fertilizer and EM compost alone and in combination) was conducted in randomized block design. An increment of 31.83% in tomato yield was recorded with the combined use of EM compost and half recommended dose of chemical fertilizers (N50P30K25 + EM compost at the rate of 5 t ha(-1)). Similarly, fruit quality was improved in terms of lycopene content (35.52%), antioxidant activity (24-63%) and defense enzymes activity (11-54%), in tomatoes in this treatment as compared to the application of recommended dose of fertilizers. Soil microbiological parameters also exhibited an increase of 7-31% in the enzyme activities in this treatment. Significant correlation among fruit quality parameters with soil microbiological activities reveals the positive impact of EM compost which may be adopted as an eco-friendly strategy for production of high quality edible products.
Project description:Dairy cattle are routinely treated with antibiotics, and the resulting manure or composted manure is commonly used as a soil amendment for crop production, raising questions regarding the potential for antibiotic resistance to propagate from "farm to fork." The objective of this study was to compare the microbiota and "resistomes" (i.e., carriage of antibiotic resistance genes [ARGs]) associated with lettuce leaf and radish taproot surfaces grown in different soils amended with dairy manure, compost, or chemical fertilizer only (control). Manure was collected from antibiotic-free dairy cattle (DC) or antibiotic-treated dairy cattle (DA), with a portion composted for parallel comparison. Amendments were applied to loamy sand or silty clay loam, and lettuce and radishes were cultivated to maturity in a greenhouse. Metagenomes were profiled via shotgun Illumina sequencing. Radishes carried a distinct ARG composition compared to that of lettuce, with greater relative abundance of total ARGs. Taxonomic species richness was also greater for radishes by 1.5-fold. The resistomes of lettuce grown with DC compost were distinct from those grown with DA compost, DC manure, or fertilizer only. Further, compost applied to loamy sand resulted in twofold-greater relative abundance of total ARGs on lettuce than when applied to silty clay loam. The resistomes of radishes grown with biological amendments were distinct from the corresponding fertilizer controls, but effects of composting or antibiotic use were not measureable. Cultivation in loamy sand resulted in higher species richness for both lettuce and radishes than when grown in silty clay loam by 2.2-fold and 1.2-fold, respectively, when amended with compost.IMPORTANCE A controlled, integrated, and replicated greenhouse study, along with comprehensive metagenomic analysis, revealed that multiple preharvest factors, including antibiotic use during manure collection, composting, biological soil amendment, and soil type, influence vegetable-borne resistomes. Here, radishes, a root vegetable, carried a greater load of ARGs and species richness than lettuce, a leafy vegetable. However, the lettuce resistome was more noticeably influenced by upstream antibiotic use and composting. Network analysis indicated that cooccurring ARGs and mobile genetic elements were almost exclusively associated with conditions receiving raw manure amendments, suggesting that composting could alleviate the mobility of manure-derived resistance traits. Effects of preharvest factors on associated microbiota and resistomes of vegetables eaten raw are worthy of further examination in terms of potential influence on human microbiomes and spread of antibiotic resistance. This research takes a step toward identifying on-farm management practices that can help mitigate the spread of agricultural sources of antibiotic resistance.
Project description:Manure impacts labile pools of soil organic carbon (SOC) and nitrogen (N) which can influence soil microbial composition (MCC) and enzyme activities, and hence soil health. The present study was conducted to investigate the impacts of long-term dairy manure and inorganic fertilizers (INF) on soil carbon (C) as well as nitrogen (N) fractions, enzyme activities, and microbial community structure in different time horizons at planting (P), one month after planting (1MAP), and after harvesting (H) under corn (Zea mays L.)-soybean (Glycine max L.) rotation. Study treatments included three manure application rates (low, phosphorus-based recommended rate; medium, nitrogen-based recommended rate; and high, the double rate of medium nitrogen based recommended rate), two INF rates (medium only nitrogen additions; and high nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and sulfur additions) and a control (no application of manure and/or inorganic fertilizer). In comparison to the INF, the dairy manure not only significantly increased chemical fractions of C and N but also impacted the enzyme activities. Average urease activity after manure was applied was shown to be 26.8% higher than it was with INF applied at planting. The ?-Glucosidase activity was 6 and 14% higher with manure than it was with INF at 1MAP and harvesting, respectively. The cold-water extractable nitrogen (CWEN) was enhanced with high manure rate at all timings of sampling compared to the high fertilizer rate (53%), and CK (90%). Principal component analysis indicated that MCC under manure differed from those under the INF treatments. The total bacteria/total fungi ratio at planting was increased with the INF compared to the manure addition. Pearson's correlation analysis showed that CWEC, CWEN, and enzyme activities especially ?-Glucosidase activity were the key determinants of MCC. Data from this study showed that, compared to inorganic fertilizers, manure can be beneficial in enhancing soil health indicators.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS:This paper was primarily devoted to understand the interactions of soil aggregates, organic carbon (C) and carbon cycle enzymes in aggregates under different fertilization managements, aiming to identify the effects of organic and inorganic fertilizer amendments on soil organic C accumulation and the activities of carbon cycle enzymes within aggregates in Vertisol. METHODS:A Vertisol soil following 4-year compost and inorganic fertilizer amendments, i.e. no fertilizer (CK), mineral fertilizer (FR) and 60% compost N plus 40% fertilizer N (FRM), was collected to identify the dynamics of organic C, enzymes activities and their associations with macroaggregation using aggregate fractionation techniques. RESULTS:The organic C content in all FR and FRM treatments was 8.24-41.15% higher than that in CK. An increased amounts of carbon cycle enzymes in aggregates or 0-20 cm bulk soil were also observed in FRM plots. Compared to FR, FRM significantly strengthened the structural stability of macroaggregates and the intimate connection between enzyme activities and macroaggregates. CONCLUSIONS:As a recommended measure, supplementation with organic manure such as compost strengthened the process of mutual promotion between carbon cycle enzymes and macroaggregates, and the synergistic effect would be highly beneficial to soil organic C sequestration.
Project description:Tomato cultivation in the greenhouse or field may experience high surplus salts, including magnesium (Mg2+), which may result in differences in the growth and metabolite composition of fruits. This study hypothesized that decreasing the supply of nutrients and/or water would enhance tomato fruit quality in soils with excess Mg2+ that are frequently encountered in the field and aimed to find better supply conditions. For tomato plants cultivated in plastic pots using a plastic film house soil, the fertilizer supply varied in either the nitrogen (N) or potassium (K) concentration, which were either 0.1 (lowest) or 0.75 times (lower) than the standard fertilizer concentrations. Water was supplied either at 30 (sufficient) or 80 kPa (limited) of the soil water potential. Lycopene content on a dry-weight basis (mg/kg) was enhanced by the combination of lowest N supply and sufficient water supply. However, this enhancement was not occurred by the combination of the lowest N supply and limited water supply. Sugars and organic acids were decreased by limiting the water supply. Therefore, we carefully suggest that an adjustment of nitrogen with sufficient watering could be one of strategies to enhance fruit quality in excess Mg2+ soils.
Project description:Compost production is a critical component of organic waste handling, and compost applications to soil are increasingly important to crop production. However, we know surprisingly little about the microbial communities involved in the composting process and the factors shaping compost microbial dynamics. Here, we used high-throughput sequencing approaches to assess the diversity and composition of both bacterial and fungal communities in compost produced at a commercial-scale. Bacterial and fungal communities responded to both compost recipe and composting method. Specifically, bacterial communities in manure and hay recipes contained greater relative abundances of Firmicutes than hardwood recipes with hay recipes containing relatively more Actinobacteria and Gemmatimonadetes. In contrast, hardwood recipes contained a large relative abundance of Acidobacteria and Chloroflexi. Fungal communities of compost from a mixture of dairy manure and silage-based bedding were distinguished by a greater relative abundance of Pezizomycetes and Microascales. Hay recipes uniquely contained abundant Epicoccum, Thermomyces, Eurotium, Arthrobotrys, and Myriococcum. Hardwood recipes contained relatively abundant Sordariomycetes. Holding recipe constant, there were significantly different bacterial and fungal communities when the composting process was managed by windrow, aerated static pile, or vermicompost. Temporal dynamics of the composting process followed known patterns of degradative succession in herbivore manure. The initial community was dominated by Phycomycetes, followed by Ascomycota and finally Basidiomycota. Zygomycota were associated more with manure-silage and hay than hardwood composts. Most commercial composters focus on the thermophilic phase as an economic means to insure sanitation of compost from pathogens. However, the community succeeding the thermophilic phase begs further investigation to determine how the microbial dynamics observed here can be best managed to generate compost with the desired properties.
Project description:To explore soil organic carbon (SOC) accumulation mechanisms, the dynamics of C functional groups and macroaggregation were studied synchronously through aggregate fractionation and (13)C NMR spectroscopy in sandy loam soil following an 18-year application of compost and fertilizer in China. Compared with no fertilizer control, both compost and fertilizer improved SOC content, while the application of compost increased macroaggregation. Fertilizer application mainly increased the levels of recalcitrant organic C components characterized by methoxyl/N-alkyl C and alkyl C, whereas compost application mainly promoted the accumulation of methoxyl/N-alkyl C, phenolic C, carboxyl C, O-alkyl C and di-O-alkyl C in bulk soil. The preferential accumulation of organic C functional groups in aggregates depended on aggregate size rather than nutrient amendments. These groups were characterized by phenolic C and di-O-alkyl C in the silt?+?clay fraction, carboxyl C in microaggregates and phenolic C, carboxyl C and methoxyl/N-alkyl C in macroaggregates. Thus, the differences in accumulated organic C components in compost- and fertilizer-amended soils were primarily attributable to macroaggregation. The accumulation of methoxyl/N-alkyl C in microaggregates effectively promoted macroaggregation. Our results suggest that organic amendment rich in methoxyl/N-alkyl C effectively improved SOC content and accelerated macroaggregation in the test soil.
Project description:The continuous cropping barrier is an important factor leading to the decline of watermelon quality and yield. In this study, we focused on a bio-organic fertilizer prepared with one bacterial strain, Bacillus sp. XG-1, to prevent the occurrence of the continuous cropping barrier. The strain XG-1 was isolated from watermelon rhizosphere soil, and promoted the growth of watermelon by producing phytase (0.19 U/mL), indole-3-acetic acid (IAA, 7.31 mg/L), and gibberellins (GA3, 2.47 mg/L). In addition, the strain also possessed a strong antagonistic effect against the pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (Fon) by inhibiting conidia germination with an inhibition ratio of 85.3% and mycelium growth. The bio-organic fertilizer fermented by XG-1, based on cow manure compost and rapeseed meal (85:15, w/w) under optimal conditions, was mixed in soil (watermelon had been planted for two consecutive years). After the cultivation of watermelon for 50 d, a higher density of XG-1 (9.79 × 105 colony-forming units (CFU)/g) and one order of magnitude lower of Fon (1.29 × 103 copies/g) were detected in the rhizosphere soil compared with soils without bio-organic fertilizer (7.59 × 104 copies/g for Fon), leading to an 86.4% control efficiency of watermelon caused by Fusarium wilt. The application of bio-organic fertilizer enriched soil nutrients, including the organic matter (13.2%), total nitrogen (13.9%), total phosphorus (20.5%), and total potassium (3.77%), adjusted the soil pH from 6.69 to 7.01, and significantly improved the watermelon growth in terms of the seedling height, root length, fresh weight of seedling and root with increase of 78.8%, 72.2%, 84.6%, and 96.4%, respectively. This study regarded the watermelon continuous cropping soil as the research point, and focused on inhibiting Fon, regulating soil properties and enhancing watermelon growth to eliminate the continuous cropping barrier through a combination of compost and functional strains, demonstrating the potential application value in watermelon production.