Assessment of Two Solid Anaerobic Digestate Soil Amendments for Effects on Soil Quality and Biosolarization Efficacy

Jesús D. Fernández-Bayo*, Yigal Achmon, Duff R. Harrold, Dlinka G. McCurry, Katie Hernandez, Ruth M. Dahlquist-Willard, James J. Stapleton, Jean S. VanderGheynst, Christopher W. Simmons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Anaerobic digestion is an organic waste bioconversion process that produces biofuel and digestates. Digestates have potential to be applied as soil amendment to improve properties for crop production including phytonutrient content and pest load. Our objective was to assess the impact of solid anaerobic digestates on weed seed inactivation and soil quality upon soil biosolarization (a pest control technique that combines solar heating and amendment-induced microbial activity). Two solid digestates from thermophilic (TD) and mesophilic (MD) digesters were tested. The solarized TD-amended samples presented significantly higher mortality of Brassica nigra (71%, P = 0.032) than its equivalent incubated at room temperature. However, biosolarization with digestate amendment led to decreased weed seed mortality in certain treatments. The plant-available water, total C, and extractable P and K were significantly increased (P < 0.05) in the incubated amended soils. The results confirm the potential of digestates as beneficial soil amendments. Further studies are needed to elucidate the impacts of digestate stability on biosolarization efficacy and soil properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3434-3442
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number17
StatePublished - 3 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • anaerobic digestates
  • pest control
  • soil amendment
  • soil biosolarization
  • volatile fatty acids
  • weeds inactivation


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