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Cultivation of spiny chicory in different soil types with municipal solid waste compost addition as soil amedment

Papafilippaki Androniki

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Year 2015
Type of Item Doctoral Dissertation
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Soil fertility is directly related to the soil structure and nutrient availability. Agricultural practices like the overuse of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides, the frequent and deep soil cultivation and the over-irrigation have significantly degraded the soil fertility and have reduced the populations of microorganisms which are the fertility catalysts, making soils more vulnerable to erosion. The application of organic amendments for the replenishment of organic matter, such as municipal solid waste compost, can contribute significantly to the restoration of soil fertility and the increase of crop production. However, the application of municipal solid waste compost in agricultural soils can cause accumulation of heavy metals in soils and plants and contaminate the food chain, as well as ground water and threaten human health and the environment in general. An important crop for the economy of Crete, which is directly affected by non-good agricultural practices, such as waterlogging and over-fertilization, is the spiny chicory crop. Spiny chicory (Cichorium spinosum L.) is a wild edible leafy plant with great nutritional value due to the high content of antioxidants, phenols and omega-3 fatty acids, but its cultivation has not been especially studied.In the present thesis were studied the effect of soil type and municipal solid waste compost as soil organic amendment, on growth and nutrition of spiny chicory, the potential risks of heavy metals in the system soil- plant due to the compost addition, the effects of soil type and municipal solid waste compost on wild and cultivated populations of spiny chicory under the same cultivation conditions and the mycorrhizae colonization of spiny chicory roots in all these cases. In order to be studied all the above, were constructed two major field experiments in pots under semi-controlled conditions for two growing periods and experiments of heavy metal sorption on compost. In the field experiments were used two distinct soil types (sandy and clayey), two qualities of municipal solid waste compost (depending on their heavy metal content), three rates of compost (0, 60, 150 t / ha) and seedlings of three different spiny chicory populations (Gramvousa , cultivated and Omalos).The results showed that the application of municipal solid waste compost improved soil fertility and increased the yield of spiny chicory in both soil types. The marketable yield of spiny chicory was higher in the sandy than in the clayey soil, even in the absence of compost. No significant differences were observed in growth and yield of spiny chicory between the application rates of 60 and 150t/ha. The contents of the macronutrients in the above ground part of spiny chicory were not affected by soil type or compost addition. Although the bioavailability of trace elements (Cu, Zn, Mn, Cr, Ni, Pb, Cd) in both soils was increased due to municipal solid waste compost application, their contents in the edible part of the plants remained within the normal thresholds, with the exception of Zn by application of compost at rates 150t / ha compost containing heavy metals limit values according to the Greek legislation. The colonization of spiny chicory roots with mycorrhizae was particularly high (approximately 60%) in all treatments and was not affected by the type of soil and the quantity or the quality of compost. Compost addition increased the nitrification and the nitrogen mineralization rates. The different populations of spiny chicory (Gramvousa, cultivated and Omalos) under the same cultivation conditions maintained comparatively the phenotypic differences that appear in environments that they grow naturally to a great extent, mainly concerning the rosette diameter and the above ground biomass production. The cultivated population gave higher yield, while nutrient and heavy metal contents were higher at Omalos population. The differences between the studied populations of spiny chicory may indicate genotypic differences. Also, the root colonization of Gramvousa population with mycorrhizae was less than Omalos and cultivated populations probably due to different morphology and architecture of Gramvousa roots or due to the different genotype. Overall, municipal solid waste compost can be considered an appropriate organic soil amendment which can be used in cultivation of wild green leafy plant species such as spiny chicory at rates 60t\ha.

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