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Molecular Soil Biology 2014, Vol. 5, No. 7, 1-9
http://msb.biopublisher.ca
2
(Lobo et al., 2012). In addition, organic fertilizers
generally have greater residual effect on subsequent
crops than inorganic nutrient sources due to slow
release of their nutrients over time (Omotayo and
Chukwuka, 2009; Ogunwale et al., 2002a). Organic
fertilization is also important for providing plant with
their nutritional requirements without having an
undesirable impact on the environment. Addition of
organic
fertilizers
increases
plant
growth
characteristics in plants (Ogunwale et al., 2002b; Suge
et al., 2011). It has been shown that increase in tomato
yield produced by organic-mineral compounds was
greater than those produced by mineral fertilizer
applied at the same rate (Solaimam and Rabbani, 2006;
Tonfack et al., 2009).
The term soil amendments include the use of
fertilizers and soil conditioners in enhancing nutrient
and properties of soils, for improved crop production
(Lobo et al., 2012). Thus, improvement of soil
properties by using soil conditioners is also important
for sustainable productivity in agriculture (BCMAFF,
2004). Materials which supply certain essential
nutrients to plants for improved productivity are
considered to be fertilizers, while those that make the
soil more suitable for growth of plants are considered
to be soil conditioners (Ezzat et al., 2011). They
argued that organic materials that have a
carbon/nitrogen ratio greater than 30% should be
considered as soil conditioners. In their research, they
reported positive influence of a soil conditioner
(hydrogel) on growth, yield, quality, nutrient uptake
and storability of potato (
Solanum tuberosum
).
According to them, fertilizer and soil conditioners
must be spread evenly over the soil, and it is effective
when incorporated into the crop root zone.
Mohammed et al. (2009) observed that soil
conditioners had beneficial effect on organic manures
or bio-fertilizers by increasing the productivity of
sandy soils. They reported an increase in bio-available
micronutrients (i.e. Fe, Mn, Zn and Cu) and soil cation
exchange capacity, thereby enhancing the release of
nutrients to plants.
The use of soil conditioners in improving crop
productivity is largely not being practiced and
unpopular among farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa,
despite the growing knowledge on its use in many
parts of the world. Soil conditioners, whether natural
(organic) or synthetic, can improve the soil structure
through stabilizing the aggregates (Tsado et al., 2011).
They can also have a positive effect on soil moisture
retention, infiltration and workability. Water absorbent
soil conditioners such as hydrogels have shown their
efficiency on water use and nutrients uptake by crops
in media for plant growth (Ezzat et al., 2007; Tsado et
al., 2011). Scientists are therefore faced with the
challenge to provide recommendations on the use and
effectiveness of new and non-traditional products,
since many of such products have not been
scientifically evaluated. Studies considering the
interaction effect of soil conditioner with organic and
inorganic fertilizers in an attempt to increasing the
production of important crop like groundnut are
largely unavailable in scientific literatures.
Considering the above facts therefore, this research
aimed at comparatively assessing the influence of sole
applications of organic and inorganic fertilizers and
soil conditioners on growth and yield of
Arachis
hypogaea
, as well as to study the interaction between
the soil conditioner and the fertilizers on the
performance of the plant. This was carried out in the
field so that best advice could be given to groundnut
farmers on the best approach to increasing its
productivity. The research is aimed at improving
groundnut production through the integrated use of
soil conditioners with organic and inorganic fertilizers.
2 Materials and Method
2.1 Plant materials
Seeds of Arachis hypogaea were obtained from the
Input Supply Unit of Ondo State Agricultural
Development Programme (ADP) Office, at Akure.
2.2 Fertilizers and soil conditioner
Liquid organic NPK fertilizer (Ag-zyme), inorganic
NPK fertilizer (Sidalco) and organic soil conditioner
(Ag-zyme), were obtained from the Input Supply Unit
of Ondo State Agricultural Development Programme
(ADP) office, at Akure. The solutions were prepared
following the manufacturers’ instructions, by
dissolving 500, 60 and 250 mL of organic fertilizer,
inorganic fertilizer and soil conditioner respectively in