Oyster shell, a byproduct of shellfish-farming in Korea and containing a high amount of CaCO3, has a high potential to be used as a liming material in agriculture. However, the agricultural utilization of oyster shell is limited due to its high concentration NaCl. The oyster-shell meal collected had a low concentration of water soluble NaCl (mean 2.7 g kg-1), which might be a result of stacking the material for 6 months in the open field. It has a very similar liming potential with calcium carbonate, with 3.4 and 3.8 Mg ha-1 for silt loam (SiL, pH 6.2) and sandy loam (SL, pH 5.8) to bring the soil pH to 6.5, respectively. To determine the effect of crushed oyster-shell meal on improving soil chemical and biological properties and crop plant productivity, oyster-shell meal was applied at rates of 0, 4, 8, 12, and 16 Mg ha-1 before transplanting Chinese cabbage (Brassica campestris L.) in the two soils mentioned above. Soil pH was significantly increased to 6.9 and 7.4 by 16 Mg ha-1 shell meal application (4 times higher level than the recommendation) in SiL and SL, respectively, at harvesting stage. The effect of liming was found higher in SL compared to SiL soil, probably due to the different buffering capacity of the two soils. The concentration of NaCl and EC value of soils were found slightly increased with shell meal applications, but no salt damage was observed. Oyster-shell meal application increased soil organic matter, available P, and exchangeable cations concentrations. The improved soil pH and nutrient status significantly increased the microbial biomass C and N concentrations and stimulated soil enzyme activities. With the exception of acid phosphomonoesterase (PMEase) activity, which decreased with increasing soil pH in SL but slightly increased in SiL, the activities of urease and alkali PMEase increased markedly with increasing soil pH by shell meal application. The improved soil chemical and biological properties resulted in increased crop productivity. The highest yield in Chinese cabbage was achieved following the application of 8 Mg ha-1 oyster-shell meal. Conclusively, crushed oyster shell could be used as an alternative liming material to restore the soil chemical and microbial properties in upland soil and to increase crop productivity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Waste Management and Disposal