MANURE INCORPORATION TO COMPOST-SOIL SYSTEMS AS A SOURCE OF NUTRIENTS IN TOMATO PLANT FARMING
Giovanny Echeandia, Martha Lopez.
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, Mayaguez, PR.
As human populations grow, the demand for food is also increasing. Restoration of land for agricultural practices is essential, particularly in tropical areas where soil organic matter (SOM) has been degraded by crop production. One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century will be to meet the food population demand without compromising arable land. Application of organic manure such as animal manure and composted material has been a good soil management practice in several regions of the world. Soil acidity, salinity, and steep slopes contribute to SOM decline. Higher temperatures in tropical regions lead to faster turnover rates of microbial biomass and soil organic matter in comparison to temperate climatic conditions. The aim of this work is to incorporate animal manure to soil-compost systems in tropical soils in order to recycle nutrient elements as well as to improve soil quality. Chicken manure was chosen because chickens only retain 40% of the nutrients consumed; therefore, 60% of the nutrients are found in the manure. Previous studies demonstrated that the incorporation of 25% w/v compost to tropical soils increased plant growth and nutrient uptake in basil and coriander herbs. Manure was incorporated in several soil-compost systems at different quantities (5 g, 10 g, 15 g, and 20 g). Plant germination, growth, and development will be evaluated by physical and chemical analysis of tomato plants and fruits. Macro and micronutrient uptake will be quantified using ICP-MS. Research outcomes will establish the feasibility to use compost as an amendment in tropical soils for integrated nutrient management.