Application of polyacrylamide to reduce phosphorus losses from a Chinese purple soil: A laboratory and field investigation

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Journal of Environmental Management 91,7 (2010) 1437-1445;


Use of anionic polyacrylamide (PAM) to control phosphorus (P) losses from a Chinese purple soil was studied in both a laboratory soil column experiment and a field plot experiment on a steep slope (27%). Treatments in the column study were a control, and PAM mixed uniformly into the soil at rates of 0.02, 0.05, 0.08, 0.10, and 0.20%. We found that PAM had an important inhibitory effect on vertical P transport in the soil columns, with the 0.20% PAM treatment having the greatest significant reduction in leachate soluble P concentrations and losses resulting from nine leaching periods. Field experiments were conducted on 5 m wide by 21 m long natural rainfall plots, that allowed collection of both surface runoff and subsurface drainage water. Wheat was planted and grown on all plots with typical fertilizer applied. Treatments included a control, dry PAM at 3.9 kg ha(-1), dry PAM at 3.9 kg ha(-1) applied together with lime (CaCO3 at 4.9 t ha(-1)), and dry PAM at 3.9 kg ha(-1) applied together with gypsum (CaSO4 center dot 2H(2)O at 4 t ha(-1)). Results from the field plot experiment in which 5 rainfall events resulted in measurable runoff and leachate showed that all PAM treatments significantly reduced runoff volume and total P losses in surface runoff compared to the control. The PAM treatments also all significantly reduced water volume leached to the tile drain. However, total P losses in the leachate water were not significantly different due to the treatments, perhaps due to the low PAM soil surface application rate and/or high experimental variability. The PAM alone treatment resulted in the greatest wheat growth as indicated by the plant growth indexes of wheat plant height, leaf length, leaf width, grain number per head, and dried grain mass. Growth indexes of the PAM with Calcium treatments were significantly lesser. These results indicate that the selection and use of soil amendments need to be carefully determined based upon the most important management goal at a particular site (runoff/nutrient loss control, enhanced plant growth, or a combination). (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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