Does the application of vermicompost solid and liquid extracts influence the growth, N-nutrition and soil microbial diversity of the legume, Lupinus angustifolius?

Allardice, Roderick (2015-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Vermicomposts (VCs) are the solid excreta of earthworms, known to contain plant available nutrients, large amounts of microbial life and diversity, and plant growth regulating hormones. VCs may play an integral role in the nitrogen nutrition of Lupinus angustifolius and function to reduce the reliance of legume crops on chemical fertilizers. Furthermore, the effects of the combination of VC solids and VC teas on legume growth and N nutrition, is unknown. The aim of the present study was to determine the role of varying concentrations of chicken manure VC, with and without the additions of varying VC tea concentrations, on the substrate bacterial functional diversity, plant biomass and N nutrition of the legume, L. angustifolius. In the first experiment the plants were grown in pots under glasshouse conditions and VC was substituted into the quartz sand growth media at rates of 5%, 10% and 100%. Furthermore, rhizobia inoculated and non-inoculated groups were established within the VC treatments. The plants were harvested after 30 days and analysed for tissue nutrient concentrations and biomass production. The VC-containing substrates were assessed for wide-spectrum soil analyses, nematode diversity and microbial diversity via Biolog EcoPlates. In the second experiment the plants were grown under similar conditions for 50 days and amended with 5% VC in the growth media as well as 50ml of aerated VC teas. The teas were brewed for 24 hours in concentrations of 4%, 10% and 20% (v/v), with molasses and kelp extract added as sugar sources. The combined treatments of 5% VC and rhizobia inoculation yielded the greatest biomass response. Furthermore the addition of VC allowed for bacterial nitrogen fixation within non-rhizobia treatments. However, changes in VC concentration had no effect on bacterial guild structure but were found to effect nematode funtional diversity. The additions of VC teas to soil media containing 5% VC had no effect on biomass production but were found to influence bacterial nitrogen fixation. Lower concentration teas increased BNF while the 20% tea reduced this parameter significantly over 50 days. The 20% tea also contained significantly greater bacterial functional diversity than the 5% and 10% teas. The findings of study indicate that the combined treatment of VC solids and teas do not increase the plant biomass of L. angustifolius, but that the additions of 20% teas result in greater microbial diversity in the soil. This in turn may lead to increases in soil fertility. Furthermore, additions of high concentration vermicompost teas (20%) shift the dependence of the plant from atmospheric N sources to soil N sources.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geen opsomming beskikbaar

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