Lipid-Extracted Algae as a Soil Amendment Can Increase Soil Salinization and Reduce Forage Growth Academic Article uri icon


  • Algae as a biodiesel feedstock are more productive per unit area than traditional feedstock options, but currently algae production is not economical without high-value co-products. Lipid-extracted algae (LEA) may be useful as a soil amendment; however, research is needed to determine the feasibility and management strategies required. The objective was to determine salinity-associated effects of LEA as a soil amendment on a range of salt tolerant forages [foxtail millet (Setaria italica L.), pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.), and a sorghum-sudangrass hybrid (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench)]. Forage seed were planted in columns containing sandy clay loam soil amended with the following: (1) control [nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilizer added], (2) 1.5% LEA by weight, (3) 3.0% LEA, (4) 1.5% LEA + 1.5% wheat straw (WS), and (5) 1.5% WS (+N, +P). Seedling emergence and total herbage mass (HM) from sequential harvests was determined, along with forage mineral uptake. Soil pH and electrical conductivity (EC) were analyzed after the final harvest. Seedling emergence of pearl millet was negatively affected by LEA application, but not foxtail millet or sorghum-sudangrass. Pearl millet emergence was most reduced in 3.0% LEA treated soil, however, this treatment produced greater HM by the third harvest. Soil pH and EC were greater in 3.0% LEA-treated soil than the control and 1.5% WS treatment. Production of salt tolerant forages such as sorghum-sudangrass is possible in LEA-amended soil; however, with repeated applications soil salinity may reduce productivity and sustainability.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Lewis, K. L., Foster, J. L., & Hons, F. M.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Lewis, Katie L||Foster, Jamie L||Hons, Frank M

publication date

  • April 2019