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Brennan RB, Healy MG, Fenton O, Lanigan GJ
Plos One
The effect of chemical amendments used for phosphorus abatement on greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions from dairy cattle slurry: synergies and pollution swapping
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Land application of cattle slurry can result in incidental and chronic phosphorus (P) loss towaterbodies, leading to eutrophication. Chemical amendment of slurry has been proposedas a management practice, allowing slurry nutrients to remain available to plants whilst mitigatingP losses in runoff. The effectiveness of amendments is well understood but their impactson other loss pathways (so-called ‘pollution swapping’ potential) and therefore thefeasibility of using such amendments has not been examined to date. The aim of this laboratoryscale study was to determine how the chemical amendment of slurry affects losses ofNH3, CH4, N2O, and CO2. Alum, FeCl2, Polyaluminium chloride (PAC)- and biochar reducedNH3 emissions by 92, 54, 65 and 77% compared to the slurry control, while lime increasedemissions by 114%. Cumulative N2O emissions of cattle slurry increased when amendedwith alum and FeCl2 by 202% and 154% compared to the slurry only treatment. Lime, PACand biochar resulted in a reduction of 44, 29 and 63% in cumulative N2O loss compared tothe slurry only treatment. Addition of amendments to slurry did not significantly affect soilCO2 release during the study while CH4 emissions followed a similar trend for all of theamended slurries applied, with an initial increase in losses followed by a rapid decrease forthe duration of the study. All of the amendments examined reduced the initial peak in CH4emissions compared to the slurry only treatment. There was no significant effect of slurryamendments on global warming potential (GWP) caused by slurry land application, with theexception of biochar. After considering pollution swapping in conjunction with amendmenteffectiveness, the amendments recommended for further field study are PAC, alum andlime. This study has also shown that biochar has potential to reduce GHG losses arisingfrom slurry application.
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