Composted slaughterhouse sludge as a substitute for chemical fertilizers in the cultures of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) and radish (Raphanus sativus L.)

Abstract Flotation sludge (FS) is produced in huge amounts at slaughterhouses in western Santa Catarina, Brazil. This waste is rich in plant nutrients and a valuable resource for soil amendments. Five FS composts were tested as a replacement for chemical fertilizers (QF), namely T1 (75% poultry manure (PM) and 25% sawdust (SD)); T2 (50% PM and 50% SD); T3 (25% PM and 75% SD); T4 (100% PM and 0% SD); and T5 (0% PM x 100% SD). For lettuce plants, treatments containing composted FS resulted in an increased number of leaves, leaf area and leaf fresh weight (LFW). T1 presented the best results with increases of 1.4 fold in LFW compared to plants supplemented with QF. T2 was the most effective treatment for radish with the best results of root fresh weight and root diameter. Although T4 had the highest nitrogen content, it did not present the best results in growth performance for lettuce or radish. The presence of higher proportions of SD in composts (25% for lettuce and 50% for radish) improved the physical characteristics of the soil and proved to be a more balanced compost.