Development of Biological Sulfur Fertilizer for the Improvement of Desert Soil Fertility in Kuwait
Purpose: The alkaline nature of the Kuwait desert soil results in the disturbed of plant germination, absorption of water and fertilizers during growth, leading to an environment, where plants can hardly be grown. The local soil is alkaline with pH normally above 9.00. This is too high for many plant species. With the utilization of newly developed elemental sulfur and sulfur-oxidizing bacteria biofertilizer, it is hypothesized that soil is acidified enough to the extent of improving soil property and thus increasing nutrient availability and crop productivity. Methods: In house sulfur-oxidizing microbes were screened, enriched and isolated in Kuwait. The most promising strains were optimized through growth and nutrient modification. The production process for biofertilizer pellets utilizing byproduct sulfur and an inoculum of sulfur-oxidizing microbes were developed. The effectiveness of the pellets as soil enhancers was tested with Alfalfa plant in greenhouse and field conditions. Result: In general, increasing application rates of sulfur, lead significantly to pH decrease and Alfalfa dry matter production increase under greenhouse conditions. The highest application rate of 20 g S kg-1 has caused two unit reductions in the pH of the growth medium within 45 days. On the other hand, the field evaluation for the biofertilizer produced has slightly reduced soil pH compared to the greenhouse pH reduction. Conclusion: The use of the biological sulfur fertilizer has produced positive responses in terms of changing pH of the growth medium in greenhouse and field test as well as the growth responses by the test crop used in this investigation.
Qadreyah Ahmad Almatawah and Tahani Ibrahim Al-Surrayai