Opposite effects of two organic wastes on the physical quality of an agricultural soil

Javad Zamani*, Majid Afyuni, Nasrollah Sepehrnia, Rainer Schulin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Soil application of organic wastes (OWs) can be beneficial for soil quality, depending on the quality of the wastes as well as on the amended soil. We performed a field experiment comparing the effects of two different OWs, an industrial sewage sludge (ISS) and a municipal solid waste compost (MSWC), on the physical, chemical and biological quality of an agricultural soil cultivated with maize in central Iran. The two OWs were mixed into the topsoil of the plots at rates of 15 and 45 t ha−1 (dry matter). The analysis of soil samples taken 31, 74, 132 and 241 days after OW application showed both OW increased organic matter, microbial respiration, and urease activity and decreased bulk density. In contrast, they had opposite effects on water retention and saturated hydraulic conductivity. While the MSWC increased water retention at high saturation and saturated hydraulic conductivity, the ISS decreased them. The negative effects of the ISS on physical soil quality, which may have been due to pore-clogging and hydrophobicity effects, were related to a smaller yield increase in the ISS than in the MSWC treatments, demonstrating the importance that physical OW properties can have for the quality of amended soil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-427
Number of pages15
JournalArchives of Agronomy and Soil Science
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.


  • municipal solid waste compost
  • S-index
  • saturated hydraulic conductivity
  • sewage sludge
  • soil quality indicators
  • water retention curve


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