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[APD] Organic material composition

On Friday Jan 2, Thomas wrote:

> Plant and soil OM:
> water soluble fraction ,10%, amino acids, sugars, fatty acids
> Cellulose 15-60%
> Hemicellulose 10-30%
> Lignin 5-30%
> Proteins 2-15%
> Lipids and waxes 1-8%
> Ash 1-13%

> Generally the chemical constituents are groups into:
> Non humic substances: carb's proteins and fats
> Phenolics lignins/tannins
> Humics

The classification hierarchy (groupings) is not clear; could you elaborate a

Are you saying that plant & soil OM relative compositions are the same? I
would guess that the simple carbohydrates would break down more readily than
the lignin.

Is there a lability index for these materials? How do we measure how rapidly
they break down & the decomposition products?

Are alcohols the worst organic toxins? What about acetic acid or other
carboxylic acids?

How common are carbonyl decomposition products? (aldehydes & ketones) or do
these tend to be short-lived intermediary products in an oxygen rich

Thomas, if you are looking for a stable N compound which can be kept inside
a clay pellet or ball, what is wrong with ammonium-nitrate? Inside the clay
ball, the concentration of ammonia is high but plants seem to have little
problem safely extracting the nutrients from a clay ball! I've used
ammonium-nitrate fertilizers extensively in my clay balls (See analysis of
14-14-14 Osmocote). I may switch to pure ammonium-nitrate to increase the
N:P ratio. P is plentiful in any tank with fish or in the reducing
environment of an organic substrate with mineral phosphates.

Simple amines seem to be too volatile or toxic for use as fertilizer.
Another possibility could be aminoacetic acid (glycine), a simple amino
acid. See

There are many types of proteins which could be harvested & decomposed to
produce amino acids & ammonia. I think that protein decomposition cannot
occur without diverse soil bacteria & organic material. Sequestering hair
within clay would not work for example. It seems to me that protein
decomposition might be too slow to produce sufficient nitrogen for aquatic
plants. Labile protein decomposition (bits of liver?) might be a
possibility; I think Paul has used this in the past.

There is something called "Poly-Amine S-525" which is described as a
nutrient enhancer not a fertilizer. See

Another fertilizer is Ammonium ThioSulphate (ATS). Sorry, not much help.

Steve P

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