Reutilization of granite powder as an amendment and fertilizer for acid soils
M T Barral Silva 1, B Silva Hermo, E García-Rodeja, N Vázquez Freire
The properties of granite powders—a granite manufacturing waste product—were analyzed to assess their potential use as amendments and fertilizers on acid soils. Two types of powders were characterized: one produced during cutting of granite with a diamond-edged disc saw, comprising only rock powder, the other produced during cutting with a multi-blade bandsaw, containing calcium hydroxide and metal filings added during the cutting procedure. The acid neutralizing capacity of the granite powders was assessed in short- (2–3 h) and medium-term (1–30 d) experiments. The powders showed a buffering capacity at around pH 8, which corresponded to the rapid dissolution of basic cations, and another buffering effect at pH < 4.5, attributable to the dissolution of Fe and Al. The acid neutralizing capacity(ANC) determined in the short-term experiments, to a final pH of 4.5, varied between 5 and 61 cmol H+kg-1 powder. The ANC to pH 4.5 obtained in the medium-term experiments was much higher than that obtained in the short-term experiments, reaching a maximum ANC value of 200 cmol H+kg-1 powder. There was no great difference in the neutralizing capacity determined at between 1 and 30 d. The most abundant elements in acid solutions obtained at the end of medium-term experiments were Mg and Ca for disc saw powders, whereas Ca and Fe (at pH < 5) were the most soluble elements in the bandsaw powders. The rapid release of these cations suggests the possible effective use of the granite powders as a source of nutrients on being added to acid soils.