Key words Polyphenols
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
Abstract Farmers in developing countries cannot afford inorganic fertilizers. Multipurpose tree leaves or livestock manure are major sources of nutrients for soil fertility replenishment. Nutrient release from these organic inputs depends on their chemical composition and on soil properties. This study determined the chemical composition of leaves of four African browse species and manure from goats fed leaves as protein supplements, and their mineralization of C, N and P. Cumulative evolved CO2 was significantly correlated with the initial N content of the organic inputs (r 0.83, P〈0.05) and the C : N ratio (r 0.80, P〈0.05), and was negatively correlated with the lignin : N ratio (r–0.71, P〈0.05). Cumulative P released was negatively correlated with the C : P ratio (r 0.76, P〈0.05) and positively correlated with initial P content of the organic amendments (r 0.76, P〈0.05). Cumulative N mineralized was not significantly correlated with initial N, lignin or P concentrations of the organic inputs. Leaves from Acacia karro and Acacia nilotica had high concentrations of polyphenols, which may have caused immobilization of N in both leaves and manure. Gliricidia sepium leaves had low amounts of soluble polyphenols, a high N content and a high rate of N mineralization, but the manure from goats fed Gliricidia leaves immobilized N. The leaves of all browse species immobilized P, but the manure released P. The results suggested that some browse leaves cannot meet the N and P requirements of crops due to their low P content and prolonged N and P immobilization. However, the manures had higher P contents and rates of P mineralization, which suggested that manure is a good source of P for crops. The implications of these results for nutrient cycling in mixed farming systems is discussed.
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