Agron. Sustain. Dev.
Volume 25, Number 2, April-June 2005
Page(s) 169 - 175
Agron. Sustain. Dev. 25 (2005) 169-175
DOI: 10.1051/agro:2005018

Evaluation of nitrogen fertilizing value of composted household solid waste under greenhouse conditions

Elhassania Elherradia, Brahim Soudib, Claude Chiangc and Kacem Elkacemia

a  Mohamed V University, Faculty of the Sciences, Department of Chemistry, Rabat, Morocco
b  Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Hassan II, Department of Soil Sciences, Rabat, Morocco
c  Catholic University of Louvain, Unit of microbiology, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

(Accepted 24 November 2004)

Abstract - Accumulation of municipal solid wastes, such as household solid waste, can be rated as a harmful, if not critical, pollution problem. However, if these wastes can be composted and the end product used as soil organic amendment or fertilizer, this may represent one of the alternatives for achieving the goal of ensuring integrated and sustainable waste management. The objective of the present work is to evaluate the nitrogen fertilizing value of household solid waste compost in two soils of Morocco with contrasting properties: a sandy soil and a loamy-clay soil. The compost used in this study was prepared by aerobic biodegradation using the organic fraction after its separation from the non-compostable materials. A study of nitrogen availability of the compost was carried out in a Soil - Compost - Crop system under greenhouse conditions using lettuce as a test crop. Four increasing compost rates of 0, 10, 20 and 30 tons/ha were applied to the soils. The recommended mineral fertilizer rate by the Agricultural Extension Service for lettuce and its half values constituted additional treatments. The results show a high stock of mineral nitrogen in the loamy-clay soil before crop installation. Unlike the loamy-clay soil, the sandy soil generated a better yield increase and a better response to mineral fertilizers. The effect of compost rate on nitrogen mineralization was significant in the two studied soils. The quantities of mineralized nitrogen of the compost varied between 15 and 24% of the compost total nitrogen applied to the sandy and the loamy-clay soils during the lettuce growing season. Therefore the use of household solid waste compost as soil amendment constitutes a beneficial alternative in Mediterranean soils because it permits the generation of a high nitrogen fertilizing value.

Key words: compost / lettuce / fresh matter / dry matter / nitrogen uptake / nitrogen supply

Corresponding author: Elhassania Elherradi

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2005