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Lysimeter Experiments to Investigate the Fate and Transport of Vinasse Application in Tropical Soils

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  21st Century Watershed Technology: Improving Water Quality and Environment Conference Proceedings, 21-24 February 2010, Universidad EARTH, Costa Rica  701P0210cd.(doi:10.13031/2013.29432)
Authors:   Johan S Perret, Joel E Reyes, Víctor R Bazán, B K Singh, Kelly T Morgan, Robert A Gilbert
Keywords:   Keyword: bio-ethanol, sugar cane, vinasse, tropical soil, lysimeter, solute and water flow

Abstract: Around 10 to 15 liters of vinasse are produced for every liter of bio-ethanol from sugar cane. This substantial volume of vinasse produced and associated polluting characteristics (mainly high potassium content and high BOD) raise major environmental concerns in most cane growing countries. Paturau (1989) reported vinasse BOD at around 25,000 to 50,000 ppm with 7.5 g/ml of organic matter content, 29% mineral matter, 21% gums, 17% wax, phenolic bodies, lignin, 11% reducing sugars. With these characteristics, uncontrolled dumping of vinasse on soil or in water bodies has been severely and rightly criticized. Despite the concern over the potential polluting effects of uncontrolled discharge of vinasse on soil, there are evidence of the beneficial effects on soil fertility when application of vinasse are properly managed. However, many questions remain to be answered. Understanding fluxes of water, plant nutrients and organic compounds associated with soil application of vinasse is critical to evaluate and mitigate its impact on soil and water quality.

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