Effect of Sewage Sludge on Nitrification Rate and Corn Nitrogen Uptake

Document Type : Research Paper


1 M.Sc. College of Agriculture,Isfahan Univ. of Technology

2 Assis.Prof. College of Agriculture,Isfahan Univ. of Technology

3 Assoc.Prof. College of Agriculture,Isfahan Univ. of Technology


Land application of sludge is a primary means of disposing municipal and industrial sewage sludge. The objectives of this research were to determine the effect of cumulative and residual sludge application on nitrogen (N) mineralization and nitrification and corn N uptake in a sludge amended clay loam soil (fine loamy, mixed thermic Typic Haplarigid). Soil samples from 0-15 cm depth were collected in a field that had received sewage sludge once, twice or three times during 1999-2001 at 0, 25, 50, and 100 mg ha-1. Rates of nitrification and N mineralization were determined in incubated soil samples. Corn N uptake was also measured. The results showed that sewage sludge application significantly increased soil organic carbon, N mineralization and nitrification. Also, corn yield and N-uptake increased significantly with sludge rates and number of times of sludge application. Regression analysis indicated significant correlations between soil organic C  and rate of nitrification (r= 0.825, P<0.001) and nitrification and corn N-uptake (r=0.856, P<0.001). The overall results of this study showed that (i) nitrification increased with sludge dosage and application rates and of times, and (ii) since there is a significant correlation between rate of nitrification and nitrogen uptake by corn, nitrification rate can be used as an index for soil test to quantify concentration of available nitrogen that can be used by corn.

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