Using Waste Sulfur from Biogas Production in Combination with Nitrogen Fertilization of Maize (Zea mays L.) by Foliar Application

Plants (Basel). 2021 Oct 15;10(10):2188. doi: 10.3390/plants10102188.


In Europe, mainly due to industrial desulfurization, the supply of soil sulfur (S), an essential nutrient for crops, has been declining. One of the currently promoted sources of renewable energy is biogas production, which produces S as a waste product. In order to confirm the effect of the foliar application of waste elemental S in combination with liquid urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) fertilizer, a vegetation experiment was conducted with maize as the main crop grown for biogas production. The following treatments were included in the experiment: 1. Control (no fertilization), 2. UAN, 3. UANS1 (N:S ratio, 2:1), 4. UANS2 (1:1), 5. UANS3 (1:2). The application of UAN increased the N content in the plant and significantly affected the chlorophyll content (N-tester value). Despite the lower increase in nitrogen (N) content and uptake by the plant due to the application of UANS, these combinations had a significant effect on the quantum yield of PSII. The application of UANS significantly increased the S content of the plant. The increase in the weight of plants found on the treatment fertilized with UANS can be explained by the synergistic relationship between N and S, which contributed to the increase in crop nitrogen use efficiency. This study suggests that the foliar application of waste elemental S in combination with UAN at a 1:1 ratio could be an effective way to optimize the nutritional status of maize while reducing mineral fertilizer consumption.

PMID:34685997 | PMC:PMC8538973 | DOI:10.3390/plants10102188


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