Interpreting results for plant growth promotion and disease suppression bioassays using compost

Pittaway, P. (2014) Interpreting results for plant growth promotion and disease suppression bioassays using compost. In: 1st International Symposium Organic Matter Management and Compost in Horticulture (ISHS 2011), 4-7 Apr 2011, Adelaide, Australia.

Abstract

Applying high rates of humified, thermophilic compost and vermicompost to a soil depleted in organic carbon has the potential to improve soil structure and soil fertility, and also to suppress soilborne disease. In this paper, published bioassay methods were used to assess the disease-suppressing properties of cured, thermophilic cotton trash Applying high rates of thermophilic compost and vermicompost to a soil depleted in organic carbon has the potential to improve soil structure and fertility, and to suppress soilborne disease. Published bioassay methods were used to assess the disease-suppressing properties of three cured cotton trash composts, and the plant growth promoting properties of filtrate produced from pig manure vermicompost. The chemical properties of the composts and the Fusarium wilt infested receiving soil were analysed, to assess other soil health parameters likely to affect plant growth.
Results were not as expected. Cotton seedling survival in the compost treatments was only marginally better than the control, with all seedlings showing disease symptoms. In the plant growth promotion assay, seed germination was highest in the water-only controls, with the vermi- and mesophilic (no worm) compost filtrates inhibiting root growth. The common factor responsible for the unexpected results was excessive salinity. To realize the soil health benefits of organic amendments, application rates must account for the concentration of plantavailable nutrients and soluble salts that they contain.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published Version restricted in accordance with publisher copyright policy. Paper presented at: 1st International Symposium on Organic Matter Management and Compost Use in Horticulture (ISHS 2014), Adelaide, 4-7 Apr 2011
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - No Department
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2014 01:24
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2017 04:59
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fusarium wilt; compost worms; soil health; organic amendments; soluble salts
Fields of Research : 05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050303 Soil Biology
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070308 Crop and Pasture Protection (Pests, Diseases and Weeds)
05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050302 Land Capability and Soil Degradation
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9614 Soils > 961402 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Soils
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/25829

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