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Article

Organic Wastes Amended with Sorbents Reduce N2O Emissions from Sugarcane Cropping

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School of Agriculture and Food Science, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
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Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, 203 Tor St, Toowoomba, QLD 4350, Australia
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Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
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Department of Soil Science, Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture, University of São Paulo, Av. Padua Dias, 11, Piracicaba, São Paulo CEP 13418-900, Brazil
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Department of Environment and Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4102, Australia
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School of Environment and Science/Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia
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Department of Natural Science, International Christian University, 3-10-2 Osawa, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8585, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ariel A. Szogi
Received: 11 June 2021 / Revised: 30 July 2021 / Accepted: 3 August 2021 / Published: 10 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Restorative Agriculture)
Nutrient-rich organic wastes and soil ameliorants can benefit crop performance and soil health but can also prevent crop nutrient sufficiency or increase greenhouse gas emissions. We hypothesised that nitrogen (N)-rich agricultural waste (poultry litter) amended with sorbents (bentonite clay or biochar) or compost (high C/N ratio) attenuates the concentration of inorganic nitrogen (N) in soil and reduces emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O). We tested this hypothesis with a field experiment conducted on a commercial sugarcane farm, using in vitro incubations. Treatments received 160 kg N ha−1, either from mineral fertiliser or poultry litter, with additional N (2–60 kg N ha−1) supplied by the sorbents and compost. Crop yield was similar in all N treatments, indicating N sufficiency, with the poultry litter + biochar treatment statistically matching the yield of the no-N control. Confirming our hypothesis, mineral N fertiliser resulted in the highest concentrations of soil inorganic N, followed by poultry litter and the amended poultry formulations. Reflecting the soil inorganic N concentrations, the average N2O emission factors ranked as per the following: mineral fertiliser 8.02% > poultry litter 6.77% > poultry litter + compost 6.75% > poultry litter + bentonite 5.5% > poultry litter + biochar 3.4%. All emission factors exceeded the IPCC Tier 1 default for managed soils (1%) and the Australian Government default for sugarcane soil (1.25%). Our findings reinforce concerns that current default emissions factors underestimate N2O emissions. The laboratory incubations broadly matched the field N2O emissions, indicating that in vitro testing is a cost-effective first step to guide the blending of organic wastes in a way that ensures N sufficiency for crops but minimises N losses. We conclude that suitable sorbent-waste formulations that attenuate N release will advance N efficiency and the circular nutrient economy. View Full-Text
Keywords: circular nutrient economy; sustainable agriculture; poultry litter; greenhouse gas; nitrous oxide; organic fertiliser; sorbents; compost; biochar; clay circular nutrient economy; sustainable agriculture; poultry litter; greenhouse gas; nitrous oxide; organic fertiliser; sorbents; compost; biochar; clay
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MDPI and ACS Style

Westermann, M.; Brackin, R.; Robinson, N.; Salazar Cajas, M.; Buckley, S.; Bailey, T.; Redding, M.; Kochanek, J.; Hill, J.; Guillou, S.; Freitas, J.C.M., Jr.; Wang, W.; Pratt, C.; Fujinuma, R.; Schmidt, S. Organic Wastes Amended with Sorbents Reduce N2O Emissions from Sugarcane Cropping. Environments 2021, 8, 78. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8080078

AMA Style

Westermann M, Brackin R, Robinson N, Salazar Cajas M, Buckley S, Bailey T, Redding M, Kochanek J, Hill J, Guillou S, Freitas JCM Jr., Wang W, Pratt C, Fujinuma R, Schmidt S. Organic Wastes Amended with Sorbents Reduce N2O Emissions from Sugarcane Cropping. Environments. 2021; 8(8):78. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8080078

Chicago/Turabian Style

Westermann, Maren, Richard Brackin, Nicole Robinson, Monica Salazar Cajas, Scott Buckley, Taleta Bailey, Matthew Redding, Jitka Kochanek, Jaye Hill, Stéphane Guillou, Joao C.M. Freitas Jr., Weijin Wang, Chris Pratt, Ryo Fujinuma, and Susanne Schmidt. 2021. "Organic Wastes Amended with Sorbents Reduce N2O Emissions from Sugarcane Cropping" Environments 8, no. 8: 78. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/environments8080078

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