Decomposition of Organic Substrates and their Effect on Mungbean Growth in Two Soils of the Mekong Delta

Mathias Becker, Folkard Asch, Nguyen Huu Chiem, D. V. Ni, E. Saleh, K. V. Tanh, T. K. Tinh


Agricultural land use in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam is dominated by intensive irrigated rice cropping systems on both alluvial and acid sulfate soils. A stagnating and occasionally declining productivity may be linked on the alluvial soils to low N use efficiency and low soil organic matter content while on acid sulfate soils to acidity, Al toxicity and P deficiency. For economic reasons, farmers increasingly diversify their cropping system by replacing the dry season rice by high-value horticultural crops grown under upland conditions. However, upland cropping is likely to further exacerbate the soil-related problems. Organic substrates from decentralized waste and waste water management are widely available and may help to alleviate the reported soil problems. During the dry season of 2003/2004, the effect of the application of various types and rates of locally available waste products on crop performance was evaluated at both an alluvial and an acid sulfate soil site. The C and N mineralization dynamics of nine organic substrates from waste and waste water treatment were determined by anaerobic (N) and aerobic (C) incubation in the laboratory. The response of 12 week-old mungbean (dry matter accumulation) to substrate application (1.5 – 6.0 Mg ha−1) was evaluated on a degraded alluvial and on an acid sulfate soil. In the alluvial soil, largest mineralization rates were observed from anaerobic sludge. Biomass increases in 12 week-old mungbean ranged from 25-98% above the unfertilized control. In the acid sulfate soil, highest net-N release rates were observed from aerobic composts with high P content. Mungbean biomass was related to soil pH and exchangeable Al3+ and was highest with the application of aerobic composts. We conclude that the use of organic substrates in the rice-based systems of the Mekong Delta needs to be soil specific.


acid sulfate soil; Al toxicity; N mineralization; Vietnam; Vigna radiata

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