Amelioration of bauxite residue sand by intermittent additions of nitrogen fertiliser and leaching fractions: The effect on growth of kikuyu grass and fate of applied nutrients

Navjot Kaur, I. Phillips, Martin Fey

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    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2016 Elsevier B.V. Bauxite residue, a waste product of aluminium processing operations is characterised by high pH, salinity and exchangeable sodium which hinders sustainable plant growth. The aim of this study was to investigate the uptake form, optimum application rate and timing of nitrogen fertiliser to improve bauxite residue characteristics for plant growth. Kikuyu grass was grown in plastic columns filled with residue sand/carbonated residue mud mixture (20:1) previously amended with gypsum, phosphoric acid and basal nutrients. The experiment was set up as a 4×4 factorial design comprising four levels of applied nitrogen (N) fertiliser (0, 3, 6 and 12 mg N kg-1 residue) and four frequencies of leaching (16, 8 and 4day intervals). We hypothesised that the use of ammonium sulfate fertiliser would increase retention of N within the rhizosphere thereby encouraging more efficient fertiliser use. We found that N uptake by kikuyu grass was enhanced due to leaching of excess salts and alkalinity from the residue profile. It was also concluded that biomass production and associated N uptake by kikuyu grass grown in residue is dependent on the type of fertiliser used.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)362-371
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Volume550
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2016

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