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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Mineral Concentrations of Forage Legumes and Grasses Grown in Acidic Soil Amended with Flue Gas Desulfurization Products

Authors
item Clark, Ralph
item Baligar, Virupax

Submitted to: Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 6, 2002
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Citation: Clark, R.B., Baligar, V.C. 2003. Mineral concentrations of forage legumes and grasses grown in acidic soil amended with flue gas desulfurization products. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 34:1681-1707

Interpretive Summary: Use of desulfurization products (FGDs) as a soil amendment could be important in over coming the overall management of these coal combustion byproducts. As a soil amendment, FGDs could increase pH of acidic soils for alleviation of mineral toxicities/deficiencies, and provide some mineral nutrients to plants. Green house experiments were conducted to determine beneficial and/ or detrimental effects of various levels of three FGD plus calcium-carbonate, calcium sulfate and calcium sulfite on mineral acquisition by alfalfa, white clover, orchard grass, tall fescue, switchgrass, and eastern gamagrass grown on acidic soil. Shoot concentrations of essential minerals remained relatively normal when plants were grown with various levels of these products. Accumulation of trace elements were well bellow the critical toxicity concentrations and normal for plant foliage. The FGDs used in this research could be used beneficially as soil amendments, only if they are applied at appropriate levels.

Technical Abstract: Considerable quantities of flue gas desulfurization products (FGDs) are generated when coal is burned for production of electricity, and these products have the potential to be reused rather than discarded. Use of FGDs as soil amendments could be important in overall management of these products, especially on acidic soils. Glasshouse studies were conducted to determine shoot concentrations of Ca, S, K, Mg, P, B, Zn, Cu, Mn, Fe, Al, Na, Mo, Ni, Cd, Cr, and Pb in alfalfa (Medicago sativa), white clover (Trifolium repens), orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata), tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), and eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides) grown in acidic (pH 4) soil (Typic Hapludult) amended with various levels of three FGDs and the control compounds CaCO3, CaSO3, and CaSO4. Shoot concentrations of Ca, S, Mg, and B generally increased as levels of soil applied FGD increased. Concentrations of Mn, Fe, Zn, Cu were lower in shoots, especially when soil pH was high (>7). Shoot concentrations of the trace elements Mo, Ni, Cd, Cr, and Pb were not above those reported as normal for foliage. Overall concentrations of most minerals remained near normal for shoots when plants were grown in FGD amended acidic soil.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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