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Abstract

Aquatic vegetation is a potential source of organic matter and nutrients for crop production and soil sustainability. However, its high water content and presence of toxic compounds have been major deterrents for commercial application. This split-pot study evaluated the application of Pistia stratiotes (PS) (water lettuce) and Lyngbya wollei (LW) (filamentous cyanobacteria) to grow rice and sorghum. The aquatic vegetation was applied as dried and composted amendments on sandy (<3% organic matter) and muck (>80% organic matter) soils. A completely randomized split-pot design evaluated the effect of the amendments on root dry weight (RDW), shoot dry weight (SDW), and nutrient content of above ground biomass. The application of dried PS and LW on sandy soil produced larger and heavier sorghum shoots than those grown under composted treatments. Soil type was not a determinant factor of plant nutrient content: total Kjeldahl nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and silicon. Shoot dry weight of rice grown on sandy soils was significantly greater than grown on muck soils using dried LW and composted LW treatments. The allelopathic effects of PS and LW were more pronounced on sandy soil compared to muck soil, indicating the potential application for using aquatic vegetation as a soil amendment on sandy soil in the future.

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