Effect of application rate of commercial lignite coal-derived amendments on early-stage growth of Medicago sativa and soil health, in acidic soil conditions

Karen Little, Michael Rose, Antonio Patti, Timothy Cavagnaro, Roy Jackson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch

1 Citation (Scopus)


The occurrence of acidic soils in Australia limits agricultural productivity. It is claimed that commercially available lignite coal-derived products have the capacity to buffer soil pH. In addition, manufacturers of these products and farmer anecdotal evidence suggest promotion of plant shoot and root growth. This study investigated the effect of application rate of lignite coal-derived amendments on the early-stage growth of a pasture legume, lucerne (Medicago sativa), and soil health in a soil type common to south-eastern Australia, in a glasshouse setting. Measurements of root and shoot biomass, microbial biomass C and soil pH were taken after 6 weeks of growth. Differences were observed between the amendment application rates, particularly lucerne shoot and root growth in soil amended with 20 kg/ha of soluble K-humate granules. The results of this study will assist farmers in making decisions about the value and effectiveness of lignite coal-derived amendments on plant growth as well as their potential to improve soil health.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFunctions of Natural Organic Matter in Changing Environment
Subtitle of host publicationWith 356 figures
EditorsJianming Xu, Jianjun Wu, Yan He
Place of PublicationDordrecht Germany
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9789400756342
ISBN (Print)9789400756335, 9787308102711
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


  • Acidic
  • Coal
  • Lignite
  • Lucerne
  • Medicago sativa
  • Microbial biomass

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