Sources of nitrogen in organic farming
© European Compost Network ECN e.V. (6/2014)
Plant nutrition with nitrogen (N) in organic farming is based on the use of natural soil fertility which can be maintained and increased by cultivation of legumes, plowing under of harvest residues and application of different types of manures and composts. Unlike the other essential nutrients, N in the soils and fertilizers permitted for use in organic farming is mainly in the organic forms which are not directly accessible to the plants and which have to be mineralized to the forms available to the plants.

Recovery of holocellulose from soil-incorporated organic residues using the van Soest method
© European Compost Network ECN e.V. (6/2014)
In general, soil carbon models consider two C pools as labile and recalcitrant. The labile soil C pool is quantified as particulate organic matter determined by sieving or as the light fraction measured densimetrically.

Investigation of spectral properties of high organic matter content wastes and soil-waste complexes
© European Compost Network ECN e.V. (6/2014)
High organic matter content non-hazardous wastes are important and potentially growing sources of material that could be applied to cultivated soils to improve their fertility and increase their organic matter content, thus also potentially contributing to the prevention of global warming through carbon sequestration. Tools to predict the fate of these kinds of organic wastes/soil amendments in soil would enable better account to be taken of their contribution to global environmental balances and spectroscopic measurements and analyses seem to be promising and novel methods.

Diethyl phthalate bioaccumulation and physiological response in plants
© European Compost Network ECN e.V. (6/2014)
The increased production and use of composted or digested municipal sewage sludge as soil improver or growing media for plants raises concern of possible accumulation of organic pollutants in the environment. Phthalates are a group of chemicals which are included in the priority list to be monitored in sludge targeted for agriculture in the EU.

The effect of municipal organic waste compost on the spring barley
© European Compost Network ECN e.V. (6/2014)
Organic household waste composts can be used as an agricultural soil conditioner or fertiliser when it is processed and certified according to the recognised composting standards. In addition to the compost quality its fertilisation effect may depend on the spreading technology. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effect of source-separated organic household waste and category III animal by-products compost on the spring barley yield and yield quality.

Horse manure co-composted with biochar affects degradation process and compost quality
© European Compost Network ECN e.V. (6/2014)
Biochar has potential to improve soil fertility specially when it is applied together with organic fertilisers e.g. compost. Previous studies have shown better results when biochar is co-composted with organic waste or manure.

Effect of organic material input on the crush strength of seven granulated organo-mineral fertilisers
© European Compost Network ECN e.V. (6/2014)
Organo-mineral fertilisers (OMF) based on a judicious mix of both organic materials and mineral nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) plant nutrients play an important role in improving soil fertility and crop yield. However, the efficiency and reliability of OMF made from mixtures of separated solid fraction of pig slurry (SPS) and ammonium phosphate as alternative sources of N, P and organic amendments depends, among several factors, on the crush strength (CS) of OMF granules.

The effect of calcium carbonate, compost and biochars treatments on the chemical properties and solubility of organic materials of sandy soils
© European Compost Network ECN e.V. (6/2014)
Composting and pyrolysis of wastes with high organic matter content could be a solution for recovery, reduction or stabilization of the amount of generated biodegradable wastes, and thus support waste management and environmental prevention. Furthermore using compost and biochar in agriculture plays an important role in soil nutrient supply, and in improvement of physical and chemical properties as well.

Business cases for Biochar production and utilization
© ANS e.V. HAWK (10/2012)
The INTERREG IVb NSR project called "Biochar: climate saving soils", which runs from October 2009 to September 2013, will explore how biochar can help fight climate change in Europe's North Sea region.

A quantitative review of the effects of biochar application to soils on crop productivity using meta-analysis
© ANS e.V. HAWK (10/2012)
Increased crop yield is a commonly reported benefit of adding biochar to soils. However, experimental results are variable and dependent on the experimental set-up, soil properties and conditions, while causative mechanisms are yet to be fully elucidated. A statistical meta-analysis was undertaken with the aim of evaluating the relationship between biochar and crop productivity (either yield or above-ground biomass). Results showed an overall small, but statistically significant, benefit of biochar application to soils on crop productivity, with a grand mean increase of 10%. However, the mean results for each analysis performed within the meta-analysis covered a wide range (from 28% to 39%). The greatest (positive) effects with regard to soil analyses were seen in acidic (14%) and neutral pH soils (13%), and in soils with a coarse (10%) or medium texture (13%). This suggests that two of the main mechanisms for yield increase may be a liming effect and an improved water holding capacity of the soil, along with improved crop nutrient availability. The greatest positive result was seen in biochar applications at a rate of 100 t ha-1 (39%). Of the biochar feedstocks considered and in relation to crop productivity, poultry litter showed the strongest (significant) positive effect (28%), in contrast to biosolids, which were the only feedstock showing a statistically significant negative effect (-28%). However, many auxiliary data sets (i.e. information concerning co-variables) are incomplete and the full range of relevant soil types, as well as environmental and management conditions are yet to be investigated. Furthermore, only shortterm studies limited to periods of 1 to 2 years are currently available. This paper highlights the need for a strategic research effort, to allow elucidation of mechanisms, differentiated by environmental and management factors and to include studies over longer time frames.

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