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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Can Organic Amendments Improve Soil Physical Characteristics and Increase Maize Performances in Contrasting Soil Water Regimes?

Sisouvanh, Phimmasone; Trelo-ges, Vidhaya; Isarangkool Na Ayutthaya, Supat; Pierret, Alain; Nunan, Naoise; Silvera, Norbert; Xayyathip, Khampaseuth; Hartmann, Christian


Organic amendments are believed to help increase the soil carbon storage and therefore improve soil quality, which may be important in the context of climate change. However, the added value of organic amendments for farmers must be clearly demonstrated in order to convince them of the utility of their use. The aims of this study were: (i) to investigate the impact on maize of compost and vermicompost combined with two levels (negligible and significant) of plant water stress; and (ii) to determine how the organic amendments affected the soil's physical properties and maize productivity. Water stress levels were imposed by controlling the matric potential of soil columns in which cultivated soil characteristics was mimicked (10 cm topsoil with organic amendments, above a 50 cm subsoil without any inputs containing the majority of the roots). Plant and soil characteristics were monitored daily for 70 days. Our results show that the use of organic amendments is profitable for farmers as: (i) maize performances were increased in both moisture regimes; and (ii) the improvement was particularly striking in terms of yield. No additional benefits were measured when using vermicompost instead of compost. The data suggest that the improvement in plant characteristics did not result from increased water storage in the soils with organic amendments, but rather from better access to the water, resulting in faster root development in the macroporosity of the amended soils.


compost; vermicompost; soil matric potential; porosity; pore size distribution; root; plant water stress

Published in

2021, volume: 11, number: 2, article number: 132
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Sisouvanh, Phimmasone
Khon Kaen University (KKU)
Trelo-ges, Vidhaya
Khon Kaen University (KKU)
Ayutthaya, Supat Isarangkool Na
Khon Kaen University (KKU)
Pierret, Alain
Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences of Paris
Sorbonne Université
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Silvera, Norbert
Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences of Paris
Xayyathip, Khampaseuth
Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences of Paris
Hartmann, Christian
Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences of Paris

UK√Ą Subject classification

Agricultural Science

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