Effect of Municipal Sewage Sludge on Soil Chemical Properties and Chemical Composition of Spring Wheat

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Abstract

Municipal sewage sludge from rural sewage treatment plants is characterized by a substantial content of organic matter and macronutrients, which can be used in cultivation of cereals. In a farm located in the commune of Iwanowice in the south of Poland (Malopolska province), municipal sewage sludge was applied under spring wheat cultivation. The experiment was set up on heavy soil with slightly acid reaction and medium content of available forms of P, K, Mg. Application of sewage sludge in a dose of 23 Mg fresh matter per hectare (4.21 Mg d.m.) led to no significant changes in chemical properties of the soil. Application of sewage sludge significantly increased yield of spring wheat. That increase led to a significant decrease in the content of N, P, K, Na, Mg and Ca in spring wheat. Utilization of N, Mg, K, P and Ca from sewage sludge by spring wheat was at a level of 82, 63, 44, 36, 9 %, respectively, of the amount introduced with the waste. Application of municipal sewage sludge significantly decreased the value of Ca : P ratio in spring wheat grain and straw. The sewage sludge did not cause a significant change in the values of Ca : Mg, K : Na, K : (Ca+Mg), K : Mg and K : Ca ratios in spring wheat grain and straw. Municipal sewage sludge can be used environmentally, including for fertilization of cereals, provided that environmental standards are kept.

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