Open Access Original Research Article

Use of Indigenous Germination Bioassay to Test Maturity of Common Organic Fertilizers

B. A. Lawal, E. A. O. Ilupeju, A. M. Ojo, M. A. Jolaoso, W. B. Akanbi

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-4
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/19339

Compost quality has been described using different techniques. However, none of these techniques is efficient enough to provide a universal answer at all time and place to the question of when compost could be considered matured. In Nigeria, composition of compost varied according to materials and method used to prepare it as well as time interval between preparation and usage. To determine the quality of compost, seeds of nine cultivated crops divided into three seed size grades – large, medium and small were grown in four growing media namely Alesinloye organic fertilizer, Sunshine organic fertilizer, immature and matured Tithonia composts. The seeds were left to germinate and the seedlings allowed to grow for a period of twenty to twenty four days, data were collected on percentage germination and root length. From the data, germination index was computed for each of the crop seed in each of 18 the growth medium. Results show that groundnut and tomato are the least tolerant to poor compost quality among the tested seeds; they had the highest relative germination rate (88) and relative root length (28) respectively in matured Tithonia compost but did not germinate in immature Tithonia compost. Beans is the most tolerating among all seeds tried. In term of growing media, matured Tithonia compost positively influenced the crops’ performance most. The solid waste compost (Alesinloye and Sunshine) are not significantly different in performance in supporting tried crops. The use of matured Tithonia compost enhanced crop seed germination, seedling growth and development for all seeds tried. Percent germination, root length and germination index were best in this medium when compared with the others. This trial reflected variability in seed germination and seedling development of different crops in response to different composts qualities. Among the tried species, groundnut and tomato are the most sensitive compost maturity indicators; their germination reflect the quality of compost growing medium. It is a quick, cost effective and easy to use method of ascertaining compost maturity among native farmers.


Open Access Original Research Article

Soil Conservation for Mitigation and Adaptation to a Changing Climate: Sustainable Solutions in the Nigerian Savanna Ecology

Odunze Azubuike Chidowe

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-12
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/19628

Soil conservation and quality improvement under intensive land use and fast economic development has become a major challenge for sustainable natural resource use in developing countries such as Nigeria. Conventional tillage is commonly practiced at land preparation and effect of this on soil quality for sustainable productivity has been very discouraging. Therefore measures for mitigating soil degradation, adverse effects of climate change and encouraging adaptation/adoption under intensive agricultural land use were investigated in this study. Conservation Agriculture tillage-based practices with Nitrogen and Phosphorus fertilizer rates’ application were studied in a Nigerian Savanna Alfisol. Results show that Conservation Tillage practices involving in-situ grown, incorporated and relayed legumes like Centrosema pascuorum and Desmodium uncinatum ameliorated soil acidity, enhanced soil carbon sequestration, improved cation exchange capacity of the soil, and resulted in higher maize and sorghum grain yields than Conventional tillage and No-Till practices. Conservation tillage (C. pascuorum in-situ grown, incorporated and relayed) combined with 100 kgNha-1 and 26.4kgPha-1 resulted in higher maize grain yield that increased from 2.58 tha-1 in 2010 to 3.67 kgha-1 in 2011. Conservation tillage (Desmodium uncinatum in-situ grown, incorporated and relayed) combined with 50 kgNha-1 and 13.2 kgPha-1 resulted in 1.48 tha-1 sorghum grain yield that was significantly higher than the other tillage practices.


Open Access Original Research Article

Effect of Chromium and Cadmium on Growth Parameters and Biochemical Responses in Soil Treated with Compost and Humic Acid

A. Chaab, A. Moezzi, G. Sayyad, M. Chorom

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-8
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/19242

Aims: The effects of chromium (0, 100 and 200 ppm) and cadmium (0, 50 and 100ppm) on shoot dry weight, content of chlorophyll, soluble protein content and  activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) were investigated.

Study Design: The experimental design was completely randomized with 3 replications.

Place and Duration of Study: The experiment was car­ried out in the greenhouse of the University of Shahid Chamran in Ahwaz (Iran), between November 2014 and April 2015.

Methodology: The experiment was car­ried out in the greenhouse, using soil columns of 20 cm in diameter and 45 cm in depth. The experimental variables were the level of soil contamination with Chromium (0, 100, 200 mg/kg) use K2Cr2O7, Cadmium (0, 25, 50 mg/kg) use Cdcl2 and the type of organic substance (compost and humic acid). Each treatment consisted of: [a] control (without heavy metals (T0) and organic substance); [b] humic acid + T1(25 mg/kg Cd and 100 mg/kg Cr); [c] compost + T1(25 mg/kg Cd and 100 mg/kg Cr); [d] humic acid + T2(50 mg/kg Cd and 200 mg/kg Cr); [e] compost + T2(50 mg/kg Cd and 200 mg/kg Cr). The upper 10 cm of soil was mixed with 40 gr/kg soil compost. The humic acid was a commercial sample from Fluka (product number 35069288) and is used after pretreatment as described by van den Hoop et al. (1999). In short to obtain the soluble fraction of the humic acid, 2.5 g of a Fluka sample were dissolved in 1/1 of water. Seeds of Zea maize (single grass 704) were prepared from Seed Research Centre of Karaj, Iran. The seeds were planted in plastic columns. Each column was filled with 14 kg of soil. Prior to filling, soil was mixed with macronutrients (NPK) and heavy metals.

Results: Enhancement of Cr and Cd decrease shoot dry weight and total chlorophyll content of plant in all treatments. Application of organic substance especially humic acid (c) decrease the negative effects of heavy metals. SOD activity increased in treatments, but soluble protein decreased. CAT activity increased in low concentration (T1) of Cr and Cd with significant effect in reaction of the treatment but in high concentration (T2) of this elements CAT activity decreased.  CAT is susceptible to Cr and Cd than SOD, decrees in its activity pointer its. These results show that aggregation of oxygen species due to oxidative stress of heavy metals in plants cause different respond in treatments.

Conclusion: In conclusion, our results indicated that the exposure of Zea maize to Cr and Cd decreased shoot dry weight and pigment content. The present study show that in high level of heavy metals antioxidative system in Zea maize was active to survive plant. Decrease in chlorophyll and protein also a signal result for the toxicity of heavy metals. Total Soluble Protein Content decreased in all treatments, indifferently of compound type and Cr and Cd concentration.  Decrease in total soluble protein in most treatments suggests that in this condition (stress of heavy metals) synthesis of protein was destruction. SOD activity increased with the increasing concentration of chromium and cadmium. At higher concentration of Cr and Cd the amount of CAT activity decreased. Increase of SOD pointed to its role in antioxidative system in Zea maize.

Open Access Original Research Article

Evaluation of Nitrogen Fertilizer and Lime on Grain Yield, Protein Content and Kernel Weight of Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) in Kenya

Nadir S. Waluchio, Caleb O. Othieno, Wilson K. Ng’etich, Julius O. Ochuodho

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-7
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/6239

Barley requires adequate nitrogen (N) for high grain yields and quality malting, but the balance between adequate and excessive N is important therefore field experiments were set up between July 2011 and July 2012 to evaluate the effects of nitrogen fertilizer rates and liming on the grain yield and malting qualities of barley (grain protein content and kernel weight). The experiments were conducted at medium altitude at University of Eldoret (2185 m asl) and at high altitude in Mau-Narok (2740 m asl) in Kenya. Nitrogen as C.A.N fertilizer was applied at 5 levels 0, 30, 40, 50 and 60 kg N/ha, at planting. Phosphorus (TSP) at 20 Kg P/ha, and potassium (muriate of potash) at 35 kg/ha as K20, were applied as blanket in plots with nitrogen treatments. There were two controls; absolute control (no fertilizer) and the other one having phosphorus applied. Lime was applied at  1.5 t/ha. Split plot arrangement in RCBD design was adopted. Both sites were acidic (soils) and deficient in phosphorus with Mau-Narok having more soil N. The effect of nitrogen on grain yield was highly significant (P=.001). Increasing N rates beyond 40 kg N/ha increased the grain protein content beyond the malting range. Effect of lime on grain yield was significant (P≤.01) for both sites. Lime treatments had higher grain protein contents. Lime-nitrogen interaction on kernel weight was highly significant (P≤.001) but not for grain yield. Application of lime in combination with N rates at 30 and 40 N kg/ha produced best results for grain yield (>7 t/ha), kernel weight and grain crude protein (10-13.5%). Nitrogen rates at 30 N and 40 N kg/ha produced highest grain yield, highest kernel weight and recommended maltable grain protein content and therefore is recommended as optimum agronomic rates for both sites. In addition, liming is recommended for Eldoret site while phosphorus use for Mau-Narok.

Open Access Original Research Article

Artificial Neural Network Model for the Prediction of the Cotton Crop Leaf Area

A. M. Aboukarima, H. A. Elsoury, M. Menyawi

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-13
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/19686

Leaf area is an important indicator of crop growth and productivity. There are different instruments besides mathematical empirical models to estimate leaf area of crops, vegetables and fruits. This study investigates an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) model in prediction cotton leaf area. Best fitting results were obtained with 4 input nodes (leaf width, main lobe length, right lobe length and left lobe length), one hidden layer and one output layer (leaf area) as 4-6-1. ANN model performance was tested successfully to describe the relationship between measured and predicted cotton leaf area and coefficient of determination (R2) was 0.9232. The developed ANN model produced satisfied correlation between measured and predicted value and minimum inspection error. Thus, the model can be used in easy way for agronomists and plant scientists in cotton crop research.


Open Access Original Research Article

Evaluation of Different Indices of Sulfur Availability in Soils for Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Production in Ethiopia –II

Assefa Menna, Nyambilila Amuri, Tekalign Mamo, Johnson M. R. Semoka

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1-11
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2015/20513

Using high-analysis fertilizers lacking adventitious sulfur (S), coupled with traditional cropping-systems that mine S from native soil, leads to S deficiency. However, under field conditions, S deficiency symptoms are not easily identifiable in cereals, because they are mistaken with those of Nitrogen (N). Hence, S availability indicators are necessary for rational fertilizer use. Eighteen explorative field experiments were conducted in 2012/2013 seasons in Central Highlands (HLs) of Ethiopia, with the purpose of evaluating S deficiency indicators in wheat, with the ultimate aim of setting critical-thresholds. In the study organic carbon (OC), and SO4-S in soils; total S and N/S ratio in grains were considered. Two levels of S (0 and 20 kg/ha); 2-levels of P (0 and 20 kg/ha); and 2-levels of N (0 and 69 kg/ha) as gypsum, triple-superphosphate (TSP) and urea, respectively were used. The experimental was laid out in randomized complete design (RCBD) in three replications. In the study, N/S ratio and S content in grain showed better association with S-uptake, with the degree of correlation, -0.83767 and 0.85547, respectively both significant at P<0.001. However, based on the minimum criteria set in literature, the total S in wheat grain showed better sensitivity, whereas N/S ratio was marginal. The critical-thresholds set at 90% Relative Yield (RY), were approximated to about 0.118% for total S, 14.7:1 for N/S ratio in grains; and 11.3 mg/kg for SO4-S in native soil. Therefore, wheat grains from S responsive sites and/or treatments can be distinguished from un-responsive ones, in which case much S response is expected for sites and/or treatments with total S content of <0.118%, N/S ratio >14.7:1 and SO4-S <11.3 mg/kg. In general, the results suggest that plant analysis, (in this case, grain), might be taken as a better tool for assessing S supply of soils or wheat crop than the soil analysis, and therefore, this preliminary result could be used as the basis for S research and as a provisional recommendation for wheat growers in Ethiopia.