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Article

Agro-Environmental Sustainability of Anaerobic Digestate Fractions in Intensive Cropping Systems: Insights Regarding the Nitrogen Use Efficiency and Crop Performance

1
Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment, University of Padova, 35020 Legnaro, Italy
2
ING.AM. S.r.l., 30035 Mirano, Italy
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Unità Organizzativa Qualità del Suolo, Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale del Veneto (ARPAV), 31100 Treviso, Italy
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Società Estense Servizi Ambientali, 35042 Este, Italy
5
Confagricoltura Veneto, 30174 Venezia, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mauro Mori and Ida Di Mola
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 745; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040745
Received: 2 April 2021 / Revised: 6 April 2021 / Accepted: 7 April 2021 / Published: 12 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Methods for Plant Nutrition Management)
Digestate is an anaerobic digestion by-product rich in inorganic-nitrogen (N) that can be used as an organic fertilizer. Digestate agronomic efficiency and its impact on the environment have not yet been studied in detail, therefore this study tries to fill this gap. The agro-environmental sustainability of digestate fractions was evaluated in a holistic way by comparing the best management practices available in the Veneto Region agroecosystem. A farm experiment involving mineral fertilizer and both liquid and solid digestate fractions was established involving silage winter wheat and silage maize as main crops. Agro-environmental sustainability was investigated coupling crop performance analysis (e.g., yield, N uptake and N use efficiency (NUE)) with a novel proposed agro-environmental sustainability index (AESI) (i.e., product of the dry yield and NUE). The results showed that the liquid digestate fraction gave agronomic performances comparable to mineral fertilizers and a satisfying AESI while solid digestate showed lower performances. In conclusion, liquid digestate fractions might be an effective substitute for mineral fertilizers in the Veneto region agroecosystem reaching encouraging levels of agro-environmental sustainability. On the contrary, longer-term experiments are requested to evaluate solid digestate fraction sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: liquid digestate fraction; solid digestate fraction; denitrification and decomposition (DNDC) simulation; silage winter wheat; silage maize; nitrification inhibitor; circular economy liquid digestate fraction; solid digestate fraction; denitrification and decomposition (DNDC) simulation; silage winter wheat; silage maize; nitrification inhibitor; circular economy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Grillo, F.; Piccoli, I.; Furlanetto, I.; Ragazzi, F.; Obber, S.; Bonato, T.; Meneghetti, F.; Morari, F. Agro-Environmental Sustainability of Anaerobic Digestate Fractions in Intensive Cropping Systems: Insights Regarding the Nitrogen Use Efficiency and Crop Performance. Agronomy 2021, 11, 745. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040745

AMA Style

Grillo F, Piccoli I, Furlanetto I, Ragazzi F, Obber S, Bonato T, Meneghetti F, Morari F. Agro-Environmental Sustainability of Anaerobic Digestate Fractions in Intensive Cropping Systems: Insights Regarding the Nitrogen Use Efficiency and Crop Performance. Agronomy. 2021; 11(4):745. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040745

Chicago/Turabian Style

Grillo, Federico, Ilaria Piccoli, Ivan Furlanetto, Francesca Ragazzi, Silvia Obber, Tiziano Bonato, Francesco Meneghetti, and Francesco Morari. 2021. "Agro-Environmental Sustainability of Anaerobic Digestate Fractions in Intensive Cropping Systems: Insights Regarding the Nitrogen Use Efficiency and Crop Performance" Agronomy 11, no. 4: 745. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040745

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