Open Access Short Research Article

Physicochemical Properties of Plant Growing Medium Comprising Water Treatment Residuals Amended with Composted Park

Yiping Xie, Masaru Matsumoto, Kiyoshi Kurosawa

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 80-86
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/11764

The physicochemical properties were measured for medium comprising water treatment residuals (WTR) amended with composted bark (two different volume ratios of WTR to composted bark) one month after creation, in order to determine its suitability for plant growing purposes. Compared to the WTR alone, the WTR + bark medium exhibited similar neutral pH and a redox potential (Eh) indicating aerobic conditions, higher electrical conductivity (EC), cation exchange capacity (CEC), and total carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) concentrations, and lower phosphate (P) absorption coefficients and available manganese (Mn) concentrations. Comparing to the theoretical baseline medium immediately after creation, the WTR + bark medium, after a one-month incubation, exhibited a decline in available Mn, total C, and total N concentrations and an increase in CEC and P-absorption coefficients. These changes may be attributable not only to the introduction of composted bark but, also, to the increase in aerobic microbial activity or some factor by incubation. The pH, Eh, EC and C/N ratio for the WTR + bark medium indicated that it is suitable for growing plants. The reduction in available Mn concentration by nearly half relative to WTR alone suggests a lower occurrence of Mn toxicity syndrome for plants. Furthermore, despite the potential for the high P-absorption coefficient of WTR + bark medium to cause P deficiencies in plants, this deficit can be compensated by the application of P fertilizer. Thus, the WTR + bark medium is concluded to be suitable as a plant growing medium.

Open Access Original Research Article

Pedological Characterization of Some Typical Soils of Busia County, Western Kenya: Soil Morphology, Physico-chemical Properties, Classification and Fertility Trends

S. J. Kebeney, B. M. Msanya, W. K. Ng’etich, J. M. R. Semoka, C. K. Serrem

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 29-44
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/11880

Standard soil survey was carried out in Western Kenya to establish representative research sites on the basis of landforms and other physiographic attributes. Soil profiles were characterized at Emalomba (Nambale District) designated (EMA-P1) and at Bukhalalire (Butula District) named BUMA-P1. Both pedons formed from in-situ weathering of granitic rocks under ustic moisture and iso-hyperthermic temperature regimes. Fourteen soil samples from genetic horizons were analyzed for physico-chemical properties. Both pedons had dark brown sandy clay and sandy clay loam topsoils overlying dominantly clayey subsoils. Both pedons indicate clay eluviation-illuviation as a dominant pedogenic process with strong acidic soil conditions and available phosphorus of < 7 mg/kg soil. Organic carbon (OC) is high in EMA-P1 and medium to very low in BUMA-P1 while total nitrogen is medium and low to very low. EMA-P1 and BUMA-P1 have C/N ratios of 8.6 - 9.6 and 12.9 - 24.8 respectively. Both pedons have low to very low exchangeable bases with cation exchange capacity (CEC) < 16 cmol(+)/kg soil. CECclay values in both pedons are < 24 cmol(+)/kg with BUMA-P1 having < 10 cmol(+)/kg. Both soils are highly weathered with BUMA-P1 depicting more advanced stage of weathering. In the USDA Soil Taxonomy, EMA-P1 was classified as Kanhaplic Haplustults and BUMA-P1 as Typic Kandiustults, both corresponding to Haplic Cutanic Acrisols in WRB. As regards soil fertility trends, OC showed positive correlation with calcium and magnesium indicating organic matter as the main source of plant nutrients. The two pedons differed noticeably in terms of physico-chemical characteristics emphasizing the need to characterize soils before fertilizer recommendations are made. Organic fertilizers are recommended to increase organic matter content and intercropping of cereals with nitrogen fixing legumes to enhance nitrogen in the soils. Use of non-acidifying inorganic fertilizers and lime as soil amendments should also be considered to correct acidity.

Open Access Original Research Article

Relationship of Phosphorus Uptake with Its Fractions in Different Soil Parent Materials

Ayaz Mehmood, Mohammad Saleem Akhtar, Khalid Saifullah Khan, Azeem Khalid, Muhammad Imran, Shah Rukh

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 45-53
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/12684

The objectives were to determine inorganic P fractions in selected parent material soils and to develop a relationship of various P fractions with P uptake by Zea mays. Experimental study was conducted at Soil Chemistry Laboratory, Department of Soil Science and Soil and Water Conservation, Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan, during February, 2013 to January, 2014. Triplicate soils were selected at three different level of development in each of loess, alluvium, shale residuum, and sandstone residuum, and surface and subsurface samples were taken. Samples were analyzed for pH, soil test P, total P, CaCO3, dissolved and total organic carbon, dithionite extractable and amorphous iron. Soil P was fractioned into Ca2-P, Ca8-P, P adsorbed by Fe and Al, P occluded in iron oxides bodies, and apatite-P. Apatite-P was 33-71 %, and secondary phosphates i.e. occluded P, iron oxides surface adsorbed P and aluminum oxides surfaces adsorbed P ranged between 0.80 – 4.0 %, 2.65 – 14 % and 1.20 – 5.0 % of total P, respectively. Phosphorus uptake also differed significantly with soil parent material. The bioavailability of soil P fractions follow the order Ca2-P > Org-P > Al-P > Fe-P > Ca8-P > Occluded P > apatite-P. Dicalcium phosphates, iron adsorbed P, aluminum oxides adsorbed P and organic P control P bioavailability in Zea mays. Olsen P and occluded P gave better prediction for P uptake rather than Olsen P alone. This study will help to improve P fertilizer management and ultimately result in increase crop production.

Open Access Original Research Article

Effects of Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa C. F. Gaertn) Nuts Storage Environments on the Quality of Shea Butter in Dry Savannah Environment of Adamawa State, Nigeria

N. Bukar, D. T. Gungula, J. Kapsiya

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 54-60
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/9522

An experiment was conducted from September, 2009 to June, 2010 at the Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola to study the effects of storage environments on shea nuts as it affects the quality of shea butter in Yola. A Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) was used for the experimental design. The treatment consisted of two storage environments (open space and laboratory, under ambient condition). The physicochemical parameters and fatty acid composition determined were oil yield, oil density, refractive index, specific gravity, iodine value, saponification value, unsaponifiable matter, free fatty acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid and palmitic acid. The results showed that storage environments significantly affected refractive index, iodine value, saponification value, free fatty acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid and linolenic acid (P<.01).Based on the parameters measured, laboratory storage environment performed better in terms of oil yield 42.24%, oil density 0.937 g/cm3, free fatty acid 2.53%, iodine value 50.89 I2g/100g, linoleic acid 5.05 % and palmitic acid 6.13% as compared to open space storage environment which had oil yield 39.41%, oil density 0.936 g/cm3, free fatty acid 4.61 %, iodine value 49.43 I2g/100g, linoleic acid 4.94 % and palmitic acid 6.17%. It was therefore, concluded that laboratory storage environment was a better choice for storage of shea nuts than open space. It may be recommended that local structures like the thatch house with adequate ventilation should be raised to provide shade as an alternative to laboratory during storage of shea nuts for better quality shea butter.

Open Access Original Research Article

Selection of the Most Effective Cultivar of Genus Zinnia Flowers for Phytoremediation of Oil-contaminated Soil

Suzuka Ozawa, Hiromi Ikeura, Etsuko Kaimi, Masahiko Tamaki

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 61-71
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/13035

Low-cost and environmentally friendly removing processes for contaminated soil by oil, such as phytoremediation, are being evaluated in recent years. We aimed to select the most effective cultivar among 6 cultivars in 4 species of genus Zinnia (Z. elegans cultivars ‘Uproar’ and ‘Zahara’, Z. angustifoliacultivar ‘Starbright’, Z. haageana cultivars ‘Sombrero’ and ‘Oldfashion’ and Z. hybrida cultivar ‘Profusion’) that can be grown under Japanese environmental conditions for the phytoremediation of oil-contaminated soils. In addition, both total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) concentration of the soil and the soil dehydrogenase activity (DHA) were assessed over the growth period. The above-ground and under-ground dry matter weights of 6 cultivars in non-contaminated plot were significantly higher than those in contaminated plot. However, plant heights of 6 cultivars at 180 days after sowing in contaminated plot were as high as those in non-contaminated plot. Growth of ‘Starbright’ was the latest in all cultivars, and ‘Uproar’ and ‘Sombrero’ at 180 days after sowing in contaminated plot was curled up the above ground. These results were judged that ‘Starbright’, ‘Uproar’ and ‘Sombrero’ were not suited for growing in contaminated soil. The TPH concentration in soil significantly decreased by about 70% from an initial concentration of 13,191mg diesel kg-1 soil after 180 days in the contaminated soil for all 6 cultivars. In particular, the TPH concentrations of ‘Sombrero’, ‘Profusion’, and ‘Starbright’ decreased to 74%, 72%, and 72%, respectively. Soil DHA of 6 cultivars in contaminated plot at 180 days after sowing were significantly higher than that of irrigated plots, especially those of ‘Starbright’ and ‘Profusion’ were much higher compared to the other 4 cultivars. These results clarified that ‘Profusion’ and ‘Starbright’ are suited for high remediation in contaminated soil.

Open Access Original Research Article

The Effect of Inflorescence Density of Grain Amaranth (Amaranthus spp) on Cletus fuscescens (Walker) (Hemiptera: Coreidae) Infestation

O. A. Oke, T. I. Ofuya, C. A. Odiyi

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 72-79
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/12265

Aim: To reveal the inflorescence morphological characters affecting Cletus fuscescens (Walker) (HemipteraCoreidae) infestation.
Study Design: Field experiments were laid out in a randomized complete block design while the laboratory experiments were laid out in a completely randomized design.
Place and Duration of Study: Experiments were conducted at the vegetable field and entomology laboratory of the National Horticultural Research Institute, Ibadan, Nigeria, during the rainy seasons of 2009 and 2010.
Methodology: Nine accessions of grain amaranth comprising of 3 accessions with lax inflorescence (RRC 646, P 373 and Oscar Blanco), 3 accessions with intermediate inflorescence (RRC 1027, Tibet and Niqua) and 3 accessions with dense inflorescence (D70-1, RRC 551 and Zhen Ping) were planted in the field. Weekly visual counts of C. fuscescens adults and nymphs on six middle plants randomly selected and tagged per plot were made in the morning, a week after transplanting through grain maturity. At grain maturity the inflorescence morphological characters, inflorescence color, inflorescence density index, inflorescence shape were rated. Seed viability test of the harvested grain was conducted in the entomology laboratory.
Result: Accessions with intermediate inflorescence had highest C. fuscescens populations/ plant and least viability percentage implying susceptibility to C. fuscescens attack while accessions with dense inflorescence had lowest C. fuscescens populations/ plant and highest seed viability percentage (P=.05) due to compactness of the inflorescence which inhibited feeding by the insect, exhibiting an antixenosis resistance. C. fuscescens populations/ plant correlated negatively with only seed viability percentage (P=.05). Also stepwise regression analysis selected viability percentage as the most important variable reflecting C. fuscescens infestation (P=.05).
Conclusion: Dense inflorescence in amaranth accessions could be a source for conferment of antixenosis resistance to C. fuscescens attack while high yielding intermediate inflorescence density index though susceptible to C. fuscescens attack could be utilized for yield improvement in breeding programme.

Open Access Original Research Article

Metalaxyl Induced Changes in Protein Metabolism During Germination of Maize

N. Shobha, S. Likhitha, G. Savitha

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 87-93
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/12374

The present work was carried out to investigate the effect of a systemic fungicide metalaxyl as a seed treatment on the protein metabolism of maize during early germination. The study was carried out for 7 days after soaking the seeds in different concentrations of metalaxyl and a control was maintained. Biochemical analyses of whole seedlings were done up to 7 days. Changes in the amount of total soluble protein, total free amino acids, and the activity of protease were performed using standard methods. The results indicate that protein content was maximum on 4th and 6th day of germination in both control and treated seeds. Metalaxyl treatment resulted in decreased protein content (20-50% inhibition) over the untreated in a dose dependent manner till the 4th day of germination. But as the growth proceeded a proportionate increase in the protein content was observed on the 6th day of germination in fungicide treated seeds compared to the control. The specific activity of protease was decreased by 46%, 81%, 88%, 97% and 100% with 1.5mg, 3mg, 4.5mg, 6mg and 7mg concentration of metalaxyl on 3rd day of germination when compared to the control. An increase in the total free amino acids occurred during the germination and maximum free amino acids content was observed on the 5th day. Metalaxyl treatment resulted in a dose dependent depletion of free amino acids. A significant increase in proline content was found to occur in treated seeds. From the overall findings, the present study gives an insight into a
protective effect of the system with an increased production of proline and decreased protease activity and free amino acids and at the same time a higher protein content during later stages of germination for a particular concentration may be due to the synthesis of novel proteins as a defense mechanism indicating the dual role of metalaxyl.

Open Access Original Research Article

Effect of Wastes on Selected Soil Properties in Abakaliki Southeastern Nigeria

C. Njoku

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 94-99
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/12604

Soil samples were collected from three different dumpsites and a non-dumpsite (control) and used for the determination of the effect of waste dumpsites on selected soil properties. Treatments were replicated five times and data collected were analysed using ANOVA for RCBD and means separated using F-LSD. Results showed a significant (P>0.05) change in all the soil properties studied in all the dumpsites. Non-dumpsite recorded the highest bulk density of 1.49gcm-3. This observed bulk density was higher than the bulk density in municipal, rice mill and timber waste dumpsites by 32, 12 and 21%, respectively. The order of increase in the total porosity is municipal waste dumpsite > timber waste dumpsite > rice mill waste dumpsite > non-dumpsite. Non-dumpsite recorded the lowest value of moisture content which was lower than that municipal, rice mill and timber waste dumpsites by 133, 54 and 111%, respectively. The order of increase in the value of Pb is Rice mill waste dumpsite > Municipal waste dumpsite > Timber waste dumpsite > Non-dumpsite. The lowest value of Cu was recorded in non-dumpsite. This recorded value was lower than Cu in municipal, rice mill and timber waste dumpsites by 71, 79 and 50%, respectively. Non-dumpsite also recorded the lowest value of Cd concentration of 0.6mgkg-1 while that of dumpsites ranged between 0.65 – 0.80mgkg-1 with rice mill waste dumpsite recording the highest value. The order of increase in SO42- is timber waste dumpsite > municipal waste dumpsite > rice mill waste dumpsite>non-dumpsite. Non-dumpsite recorded the lowest NO3- value of 0.25gkg-1. This observed NO3- value was higher than the concentration of NO3- in municipal, rice mill and timber waste dumpsites by 20, 112 and 24%, respectively. . Similarly, the lowest NH4+ content of 0.36gkg-1 was recorded in non-dumpsite whereas that of dumpsites ranged between 0.42 – 0.62gkg-1. The result showed that waste dumpsites improve soil properties without causing any harmful effect to the soil. Therefore, organic wastes should be used as a substitute for inorganic fertilizers to amend and improve soil properties.

Open Access Original Research Article

Soil Loss due to Crop Harvesting in Usambara Mountains, Tanzania: The Case of Carrot, Onion and Potato

S. B. Mwango, B. M. Msanya, P. W. Mtakwa, D. N. Kimaro, J. Deckers, J. Poesen, S. Lilanga, R. Sanga

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 18-28
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/12479

Among the various soil erosion processes threatening sustainable agriculture, soil losses due to root, tuber and bulb harvesting are poorly documented, particularly in tropical environments. A study was thus conducted in two villages with contrasting agro-ecological conditions on Acrisols and Fluvisols in Western Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. The aim was to investigate the mass of soil and nutrients lost and the factors influencing variation of soil loss due to crop harvesting (SLCH) for Carrot (Daucus carrota), Onion (Allium cepa L.) and Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) under low input agriculture. A total of 108 farm plots were sampled from the two villages. The mean SLCH values were significantly higher for carrot (7.1 Mg/ha/harvest) than for onion (3.8 Mg/ha/harvest) than for potatoes (0.7 Mg/ha/harvest). Soil nutrient losses in kg/ha/harvest were higher for carrot than for onion and potatoes (e.g. 30 N, 0.1 P, 1.5 K for carrot vs 6.3 N, 0.04 P, 0.2 K for onion) in Majulai village. SLCH was greater in Migambo (humid cold) than in Majulai (dry warm) for all the studied crops. Soil water content at harvest time played a significant (P = .05) role in inducing SLCH for onion while bulk density for carrot, whereas for potato they were not significantly influenced by soil water content and bulk density. Soil texture played only a minor role to SLCH of the studied crops. The observed soil and nutrient losses in the current study are substantial and pose a challenge that calls for immediate attention to the harvesting practices in the study area. However, combating water erosion is far more urgent.

Open Access Review Article

Impacts of Oil Palm Plantations on Climate Change: A Review of Peat Swamp Forests’ Conversion in Indonesia

Syed Aziz Ur Rehman, Supiandi Sabiham, Untung Sudadi, Syaiful Anwar

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-17
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/11848

Indonesia possesses a rich biodiversity with abundant natural resources such as tropical rain and peat swamp forests, oil and gas deposits, and fertile soils just to name a few. The state policies on natural resource management were decentralized and the power and local autonomy rights were given to provincial and district governments. This resulted in an enormous expansion of oil palm plantations across the country especially over the last three decades. On the one hand it boosted the country’s economy by bringing foreign money reserves, but on the other hand has led to severe deforestation, shifting cultivation, peat swamp forests conversion and land degradation. Thus, due to the severity of these environmental consequences and associated climate change implications, oil palm development has received significant attention from all stakeholders and is the subject of global debate. This paper aims to discuss the results of various studies regarding emissions of GHGs from oil palm plantations in Indonesia and highlights the fundamental methodologies followed in assessing GHGs emissions. We found throughout contradictions in the reported rates of oil palm encroachment over peatland and GHG emissions. The former because of diverse methodologies followed in each study i.e. different amounts of time spent in the field, scales of study area, analytical techniques in GIS (data sets and supplementary remote sensing); and the later because of both differences in instrumentation and underlying principles; such as indirect GHG assessments from subsurface drainage(level of water table), subsidence, soil and biomass carbon stock differences, autotrophic and heterotrophic respiration, close chamber methods, eddy covariance techniques and utilization of micrometeorological stations. Finally, the review concludes that almost all studies demonstrate a linear increase in oil palm plantations and proclaim a net negative climate change impact due to conversion from peat swamp forests to oil palm plantations. Therefore, it is being suggested that the pre-existing GHG inventories data should be further worked out to developa ‘standard carbon sequestration model for peatlands’, supported by updated countrywide peatlands mapping and policy reforms which should address both economic development from the oil palm sector and consider mitigation of GHG emissions from peatlands conversion.