Digestate‐Derived Ammonium Fertilizers and Their Blends as Substitutes to Synthetic Nitrogen Fertilizers

Amrita Saju, Demi Ryan, Ivona Sigurnjak, Kieran Germaine, David N. Dowling, Erik Meers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Nutrient recovery from biomass streams generates novel recycling‐derived fertilizers (RDFs). The effect of RDFs depends on their nutrient content and variability, which can aid or hinder their use by end‐users. Detailed characterization of RDFs can help in evaluating product properties, whereas blending RDFs can optimize their nutrient ratios and reduce nutrient variability. This study assesses ammonium nitrate (AN) from stripping‐scrubbing, ammonium water (AW) and concen-trate (CaE) from evaporation, and two tailor‐made blends (AN + CaE and AW + CaE), for their potential as nitrogen (N) fertilizers in the pot cultivation of lettuce. Parallelly, a soil incubation experiment was conducted to investigate the N release dynamics of the tested RDFs. The RDFs were compared against the commercial calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) and an unfertilized control. AN and AW fertilization resulted in a similar crop yield and N uptake to the CAN treatment. CaE and blends exhibited poor yield and N uptake, possibly due to the sodium toxicity detected. AN and AW displayed N fertilizer replacement values above 100%, whereas CaE and blends exhibited poor results in the current experiments. The soil incubation experiment showed a positive soil priming effect in AN and AW treatment, as their N release was over 100%. Further research under un-controlled field conditions utilizing AN and AW for diverse crop types can validate their N replacement potential.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3787
Pages (from-to)3787
Number of pages1
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2022


  • ammonium nitrate
  • ammonium water
  • crop yield
  • nitrogen fertilizer replacement value
  • recycling‐derived fertilizers
  • tailor‐made blends


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