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Soil amendments affecting nickel uptake and growth performance of tropical ‘metal crops’ used for agromining

Abstract : Ultramafic soils are usually marginal in macronutrients (nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and calcium (Ca)) for growth of crop plants. Commercial nickel (Ni) agromining is dependent on attaining high yield and high Ni concentration in harvestable biomass of Ni hyperaccumulator species. We previously reported on the biomass responses of two promising tropical ‘metal crops’ (Phyllanthus rufuschaneyi and Rinorea cf. bengalensis) to rates of N, P, and K fertilisers. Calcium, sulphur (S) and organic matter amendments have varied effects on the biomass production and Ni uptake in temperate Ni hyperaccumulator species used in agromining, but the trends in tropical ‘metal crops’ are not reported to-date. We investigated the effects of these amendments on the growth performance and the Ni (and other elements) uptake in P. rufuschaneyi and R. cf. bengalensis The experiments consisted of a large 12-month randomised growth trial in large pots in Sabah (Malaysia) using ultramafic soils under different treatment levels of soluble Ca and S, and organic matter amendments. We found that Ca and S additions had no significant effects on the growth of P. rufuschaneyi and R. cf. bengalensis. Organic matter amendments had strong positive effect on the growth of R. cf. bengalensis (p < 0.05), but we recorded significant negative growth response in P. rufuschaneyi. Whereas Ca and S additions improved the Ni uptake in these species, organic matter amendments significantly reduced the shoot Ni concentrations in both species. Our findings indicate that Ca and S additions are important in the agronomy of tropical ‘metal crops’ to be used in economic Ni agromining, but organic matter amendments may not be useful.
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Philip Nti Nkrumah, Guillaume Echevarria, Peter D. Erskine, Rufus L. Chaney, Sukaibin Sumail, et al.. Soil amendments affecting nickel uptake and growth performance of tropical ‘metal crops’ used for agromining. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, Elsevier, 2019, 203, pp.78-86. ⟨10.1016/j.gexplo.2019.03.009⟩. ⟨hal-02628013⟩

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