Total Kjeldahl-N, Nitrate-N, C/N Ratio and pH Improvements in Chimato Composts Using Tithonia Diversifolia

Angstone Noel J. Thembachako MLANGENI, Samson SAJIDU, Sosten Staphael CHIOTHA


The study investigated improvements of composting blended feedstock of T. diversifolia and maize stalks on total Kjeldahl-N (TKN), nitrate-N, C/N ratios and pH of chimato Composts. In this study, T. diversifolia/maize stalks (Td: MS) ratios: 0:100, 25:80, 20:80, 40:60, 50:50, 60:40, 75:25, 80:20 and 100:0 (v/v) were prepared and then composted using chimato composting technology. The TKN and organic carbon, nitrate-N, C/N ratios and pH were determined using standard methods. Results showed significantly higher TKN and nitrate-N and lower final C/N ratios in chimato composts produced using T. diversifolia blending ratios of above 40% than those below (0% (p<0.001, ?=0.01), 20% (p<0.018, Alpha=0.05) and 25% (p<0.028, ?=0.05)). Empirical models of the form Y=mX+C (where Y = T. diversifolia percentage and X = TKN or Nitrate-N percentage) were developed indicating significant effect of T. diversifolia on TKN and nitrate-N on resultant chimato composts. Results also showed significant improvement in TKN and nitrate-N content and C/N ratios in composts with blending ratios of Td:MS = 40:60, Td:MS = 50:50 and Td:MS = 60:40 (v/v) hence judged optimal. The observed significance is attributed to optimal initial C/N ratios, moisture and porosity of the composite ingredients that enhanced active and rapid microbial aerobic activities that limited nitrogen volatilization. Blending composition of greater than 60% of T. diversifolia yielded reduced quantities of TKN and nitrate-N besides possessing greater quantities of nitrogen rich ingredients. The observations suggest occurrence of significant nitrogen volatilization. Thus, optimal Td:MS blending composition in the range of 50:50 to 60:40 (v/v) should be promoted as one strategy of improving quality of composts among smallholder farmers.

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Journal of Agricultural Science ISSN 1916-9752 (Print) ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)

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