Use of Panicum maximum as a Source of Biofertiliser and Biochar on Crop Response of Raphanus sativus L. in Organic Cultivation
Nilni Sandeepani1, Jayantha Weerakkody1, Indika Karunarathne2
1Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Plantation Management, Sri Lanka
Panicum maximum is an alien invasive perennial weed becoming a threat to environment and agriculture in Sri Lanka. Its control is extremely difficult and expensive due to its heavy dispersion ability. Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) associated with Panicum maximum root system are having the ability to produce various phytohormones that improve root growth, adsorption of water and minerals that eventually support successful plant growth. Biochar is a soil amendment that enhance the nutrient retention capacity and reduce the total fertiliser requirements by reducing the loss of nutrients via leaching and high cation & anion exchange capacity. Above ground parts of the P. maximum can be used to produce biochar. This research was conducted to evaluate the possibility of using PGPR associated with P. maximum roots as a simple and low cost bio-fertiliser preparation and use of biochar made from P. maximum as a soil amendment that could be helpful in controlling P. maximum as well as organic agriculture promotion in Sri Lanka. Pieces of P. maximum roots and roots washed solution were two forms of biofertilisers. Vegetative growth, yield and quality of the crop Raphanus sativus L. (Radish) grown in an organic system was evaluated by applying two forms of biofertilisers and biochar into the soil. Six treatment combinations of biochar and bio-fertiliser were tested as a pot trial in a polytunnel. A significant highest number of leaves and highest yield parameters were observed in radish grown with root pieces of Panicum maximum without biochar. Further it exhibited significantly better sensory properties for radish quality compared to other treatments. It was concluded that root pieces of P. maximum can be used as the source of bio-fertiliser to enhance vegetative growth, yield and quality of radish in organic agriculture. Significant short term effects were not apparent with P. maximum biochar application.
Keywords: Bio-fertiliser, biochar, Panicum maximum, PGPR, radish, roots
Contact Address: Jayantha Weerakkody, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Dept. of Plantation Management, 60170 Makandura, Sri Lanka, e-mail: wjskweeragmail.com