Humus-Rich Compost Increases Lettuce Growth, Nutrient Uptake, Mycorrhizal Colonisation, and Soil Fertility

Zakaria M. Solaiman, Hongjun Yang, Deb Archdeacon, Orna Tippett, Michaela Tibi, Andrew S. Whiteley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Sandy soils, typical of Australia's west, either have little or no habitat protection for microbes including arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, which are essential for nutrient cycling. To minimize this problem, the application of organic matter, such as humus-rich composts, is necessary during vegetable crop production. This study aimed at determining the effects of humus-rich composts on either indigenous or inoculated AM fungal colonisation in roots, lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. Quechua) growth, and soil fertility improvement. Four different humus-rich composts with varying humus contents were applied at the same standard rate to lettuce grown under glasshouse conditions for 10 weeks after sowing and compared with two low-humus composts and non-amended soil (control). Humus-rich composts significantly increased lettuce shoot growth, root growth, and AM fungal colonisation in roots. Humus contents in the composts were also correlated with lettuce shoot and root growth. Soil dissolved organic carbon, microbial biomass carbon, and fertility were increased with the application of humus-rich composts. These humus-rich composts, especially the compost of higher humic acid with and without AM inoculation, might have a significant role in sustainable vegetable production, for example lettuce growth. Overall, the results indicate that supplementation with humus-rich compost is highly beneficial to enhance soil fertility and potentially maintain the sustainability of vegetable production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-179
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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