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Soil, land care and environmental research
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Amending soil with sludge, manure, humic acid, orthophosphate and phytic acid: effects on aggregate stability

A. I. Mamedov A B C D , B. Bar-Yosef A , I. Levkovich A , R. Rosenberg A , A. Silber A , P. Fine A and G. J. Levy A

A Agricultural Research Organisation, Volcani Center, POB 6, Bet Dagan, 50250, Israel.

B Selçuk University, Ardıçlı Mh., 42250 Konya, Turkey.

C USDA-ARS, 1515 College Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502, USA.

D Corresponding author. Email: amrakh03@yahoo.com

Soil Research 52(4) 317-326 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SR13334
Submitted: 20 November 2013  Accepted: 11 February 2014   Published: 29 April 2014

Abstract

Recycling of organic wastes via their incorporation in cultivated lands is known to alter soil structural stability. Aggregate stability tests are commonly used to express quantitatively the susceptibility of soil structural stability to deformation. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of biosolids addition, namely composted manure (MC) and activated sludge (AS), and spiking of the soils with orthophosphate (OP), phytic acid (PA) or humic acid (HA), on soil aggregate stability of semi-arid loamy sand, loam and clay soils before and after subjecting the soils to six rain storms (each 30 mm rain with a break of 3–4 days). Aggregate stability was determined from water-retention curves at high matric potential. The effects of the applied amendments on pre- and post-rain aggregate stability were inconsistent and soil-dependent. For the pre-rain state, all of the tested amendments improved aggregate stability relative to the control. For the post-rain condition, aggregate stability was lower in the MC, OP and PA treatments and higher in the AS and HA treatments than in the control. The coarse-textured loam and loamy sand soils were more affected by the soil amendments than the clay soil. For the pre-rain state, addition of organic matter significantly improved macro-porosity and hence the stability of apparent macro-aggregate (>250 μm). Our results indicate a possible advantage for separation of aggregates into macro- and micro-aggregates for more precise evaluation and understanding of the effects organic amendments might have on aggregate stability.

Additional keywords: aggregate stability, biosolids, high-energy moisture characteristic, humic acid, manure, slaking, sludge.


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