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Terra Preta: Positive influence on germination and growth of tomato and lulo?

Anja Weiner1, Jana Messinger1, Marianne Lauerer1
1 Ecological-Botanical Garden, University of Bayreuth

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02.10.2014, 10:05-10:20, H36, NW III


Recently, a high fertile soil, terra preta (de Indio), attracted the attention of scientists and growers. Originating from the tropical rainforest of Amazonia (South America), it contains inorganic (ash, bones) and organic (e.g. biochar, biomass wastes, excrements) components. Especially the charcoal is assumed to have a positive effect on the nutrient content, microorganic activity and water storage capacity. Thus, terra preta (TP) could be a model for sustainable agriculture.

Aim of this study is to test the effect of terra preta substrates on germination and growth of lulo (Solanum quitoense) and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum, cv. Tiverta). Hence twenty lulo and tomato seeds were sown 4 and 3 times in shells with two TP substrates (TP1, TP2) and a standard soil (S), respectively. Seedling number was counted for 60 days. For growth trials 30% and 60% charcoal concentrations for each TP were used besides S. Growth height of ten plants per species were measured every third week. Five lulos per treatment were harvested regularly from June to August for biomass analyses. One source leaf per plant was measured regularly in colour, and either in specific leaf area (SLA) or leaf length for lulo and tomato, respectively.

Results show germination rate was 80% for tomato and lulo sown on S whereas about 90% of tomato and 40% of lulo seeds germinated on TP. While measurements are still running, the present results indicate a trend that TP impacts growth but differently for species.

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last modified 2014-09-09