Nitrate and phosphate leaching under turfgrass fertilized with a squid-based organic fertilizer

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Consumer demand for cleaned squid generates a substantial amount of waste that must be properly disposed of, creating an economic burden on processors. A potential solution to this problem involves converting squid by-products into an organic fertilizer, for which there is growing demand. Because fertilizer application to lawns can increase the risk of nutrient contamination of groundwater, we quantified leaching of NO 3-N and PO 4-P from perennial ryegrass turf (Lolium perenne L.) amended with two types of fertilizer: squid-based (SQ) and synthetic (SY). Field plots were established on an Enfield silt loam, and liquid (L) and granular (G) fertilizer formulations of squid and synthetic fertilizers were applied at 0, 48, 146, and 292 kg Nha -1 year -1. Levels of NO 3-N and PO 4-P in soil pore water from a depth of 60 cm were determined periodically during the growing season in 2008 and 2009. Pore water NO 3-N levels were not significantly different among fertilizer type or formulation within an application rate throughout the course of the study. The concentration of NO 3-N remained below the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 mg L -1 until midSeptember 2009, when values above the MCL were observed for SQG at all application rates, and for SYL at the high application rate. Annual mass losses of NO 3-N were below the estimated inputs (10 kg Nha -1 year -1) from atmospheric deposition except for the SQG and SYL treatments applied at 292 kg Nha -1 year -1, which had losses of 13.2 and 14.9 kg Nha -1 year -1, respectively. Pore water PO 4-P levels ranged from 0 to 1.5 mg PL -1 and were not significantly different among fertilizer type or formulation within an application rate. Our results indicate that N and P losses from turf amended with squid-based fertilizer do not differ from those amended with synthetic fertilizers or unfertilized turf. Although organic in nature, squid-based fertilizer does not appear to be more-or less-environmentally benign than synthetic fertilizers. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Water, Air, and Soil Pollution