Jelgava, 25.-27.05.2016.
Mihret Dananto Ulsido1,2, Meng Li1
Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China; 2Hawassa University, Ethiopia
[email protected]
Abstract. The influence of coffee pulp organic matter as a substrate for the growth of chickpeas (Cicer
arietinum L.) was compared with substrates of diverse origins to increase soil organic carbon and provide the
basis for the use of the organic coffee by-product for the production of legumes in the tropical arable cultivation
condition of Ethiopia. Four kinds of substrates, namely topsoil (Treatment I), topsoil + animal manure compost
(Treatment II), topsoil + pine sawdust compost (Treatment III), and topsoil + coffee pulp compost (Treatment
IV) were used as the matrixes in the experiment to observe the dynamic growth and development of
C. arietinum L. The emergence and growing speed of the plant in Treatment I was delayed (12.89 ± 1.17 days,
p < 0.006) compared with other treatments; and in Treatment IV, C. arietinum L. emerged fastest
(10.89 ± 1.27 days, p < 0.006) and produced larger biomass. The final product: the plant height, fresh, and dry
biomass weight in the Treatment II and IV were better than those of the other treatments. The largest plant fresh
weight (46.08 ± 0.92 grams, p < 0.001) and dry weight (14.69 ± 0.9 grams, p < 0.001) appeared in Treatment II
and the smallest fresh weight (31.18 ± 1.47 grams, p < 0.001), a 67.7 % reduction and dry weight
(8.62 ± 1.33 grams, p < 0.001), a 58.7 % reduction was observed in Treatment I. The mixture of the existing
topsoil + animal manure, topsoil + coffee pulp compost, topsoil + sawdust compost could be used in the
C. arietinum L. production. The most appropriate choice of C. arietinum L. cultivation and organic carbon
sequestration under the tropical condition is the existing topsoil + manure compost followed by arable soil +
coffee pulp compost.
Keywords: tropical, chickpea, Cicer arietinum, coffee pulp, compost, manure.
From the time immemorial, the coffee sector is one of the backbones of the economic and social
development in Ethiopia [1]. It generated 29.2 percent of Ethiopia’s foreign exchange earnings in 2014
[2] and provides livelihoods for more than 4.7 million households [3]. About half a million hectares of
land are covered by coffee plantations in 2015 that gave a yield of about 0.42 million metric tons of
green coffee beans [3]. This yield is associated with an estimated amount of 45 percentage of byproduct as coffee husk and pulp [4]. The South, South Western and South Eastern highlands of the
country are the main coffee growing districts [5]. There are more than 565 coffee processing industries
in the Southern Region alone. The Gidabo watershed that is located in the region takes the lion-share
of the distribution of the processing plants [6]. About 33 750 metric tons of coffee residues were
produced in the area in one season [7]. The current practices of green coffee bean production are not
promoting the health of the community or well-being of the land on which coffee cherries are being
produced. Despite its contribution to the national as well as the regional economy, the coffee sector is
among the most unsustainable as far as environmental sound solid waste management is concerned.
The residue from dry coffee processing is burnt while those from wet processing are dumped into
rivers, both being disposed into landfills and surface water. The residue from the wet coffee
processing factories particularly coffee processing effluents is causing considerable pollution to the
wetlands [8]. The waste is rich in organic matter that can be used for different purposes [9; 10]. The
proposed use can be either for energy or nutrient/material recovery [11]. The nutrient recovery options
include the production of compost [12-14] and uses as a substrate for mushroom production [15; 16].
Solid waste composting is a low costing, low technology demanding, less polluting, and more
environmentally acceptable method in contrast to the existing system of waste management in the
Gidabo watershed. Soil organic matter depletion is a critical issue for the health of Ethiopian soils. In
addition to soil organic matter improvement, many studies on solid waste revealed numerous benefits
of composting to the economy and the environment. The objective of this study was to investigate the
influence of compost made from coffee pulp as a substrate on the yield variables of chickpeas (Cicer
arietinum L. subsp. Akaki) as compared to the different substrates of diverse origins to provide the
basis for the use of the by-product for the production of field crops in the tropical arable cultivation
condition of Ethiopia.
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Materials and methods
Material preparation
To study the effect of composted coffee pulp as an amendment of topsoil, an experiment was
conducted using chickpeas (Cicer arietinum L. subsp. Akaki) as a model plant. Chickpeas are
commonly used in Ethiopia for the preparation of a roasted snack (locally kollo/ nifro) and an input for
a stew (shiro, or shiro wot) preparation, one of the dishes individuals consume with Ethiopia’s
traditional flatbread, injera. The experiment was designed to evaluate the impact of topsoil
improvement with different types of composts as compared with coffee pulp compost on the plant
growth and yield performance in a greenhouse. The greenhouse experiments were done between June
and September 2015 in the compound of the Hawassa University, College of Agriculture (HUCA),
The fresh coffee pulp [14] composted (refer Table 2 for the mix composition) was purchased from
Teremessa coffee processing cooperative of Shebedino Woreda and composted on site for 70 days
following the common method practiced by farmers as recommended by Kassa and Workayehu [14].
Farmers are practicing the aerobic windrow composting method using a unit windrow of 10 m length,
1m width, and 80cm height [11] (Figure 1).
Fig. 1. On field aerobic windrow composting of coffee pulp: a – before; b – after composting
Similarly, fresh animal dung and sawdust of pine wood [14] were obtained (refer Table 2 for the
mix composition) from the dairy farm and the Wood Workshop of Hawassa University and composted
in a cubic pit of one meter length, width, and height for 70 days following the ordinary practices of the
farmers. The material used for composting was heaped up sequentially at 20 cm thickness and set up
either underground (animal dung and sawdust composting) or on the earth surface (coffee pulp
composting). The compost piles were turned once every fortnight to enhance the composting
process [14]. Topsoil for the experiment was collected and transferred to HUCA from the neighboring
farms (from 0-30 cm depth) to replicate the real farm situation.
Experimental procedure
The experiment was conducted in the compound of HUCA, a fully illuminated plastic greenhouse,
on an altitude of 1700 masl, 38ºE, and 7ºN. The mean daily temperature is 210C. The topsoil is
moderate sandy-loam texture with a pH of 5.5. The topsoil and the compost were sifted using a 2 mm
wire mesh to eliminate unwanted materials (stone, clumps and roots) before use. The compost was
amended to the topsoil at three variations – 20 % coffee pulp compost, 20 % animal manure compost,
and 20 % pine sawdust compost by volume (Table 1). The non-amended soil was used as a control.
Initially, five seeds were planted in a pot and afterwards thinned to three seedlings. Uniform size
seeds of local chickpeas (Cicer arietinum L. subsp. Akaki) were purchased from the local suppliers. At
local conditions chickpeas mature for fresh harvest between 70 to 75 days from sowing. Overall four
Jelgava, 25.-27.05.2016.
treatments were employed in a completely randomized block design (CRBD) with each of nine
replications. Every week the pots were reshuffled twice to avoid unexpected variations in the
greenhouse. Nine pots in every treatment having three seedlings each were employed to evaluate the
impact of different types of composts on the plant yield performances. For the first two weeks, each
pot was homogeneously and independently watered using a fine nozzle watering can with an equal
amount of water (one litter of water per day per pot) during the sunrise and sunset and only sunset then
after. Continuous observations of plant growth and leaf number were conducted on a weekly interval.
Dry and wet above and below ground biomass assessments were conducted during flowering. Each
time, score values of the nine replications were recorded for statistical analysis and the mean values
are presented in the result part. The pot preparation on the greenhouse tables are shown in Figure 2.
Table 1
Substrate compositions of the different treatments
No of replications
Substrate (Volume ratio)
100 % topsoil
80 % topsoil + 20 % animal manure
80 % topsoil + 20 % pine sawdust compost
80 % topsoil + 20 % coffee pulp compost
Note: T1 – arable topsoil (Treatment I), T2 arable topsoil + animal manure compost (Treatment II), T3 arable
topsoil + pine sawdust compost (Treatment III), and T4 arable topsoil + coffee pulp compost (Treatment IV)
Fig. 2. Set-up of the experiment rearranged for a shot
Chemical and physical analysis of substrates
The physicochemical properties of the substrate were analyzed using the Soil Laboratory facility
of HUCA, Ethiopia. The pH was measured at a 1:5 (compost: water) v/v water suspension measured
using pH meter model ELE international (Rice, 1996). The total N of the raw material and compost
was determined by the Kjeldahl method as described by Chapman [17]. Available phosphorus was
measured using the Olsen method with the spectrophotometer model 6400 [18]. Exchangeable
potassium was determined by using the flame photometer [19]. The total organic matter content of the
samples was measured using the standard formula from a loss in the ignition. The compost sample
used to determine the moisture content was ground, thoroughly mixed and five grams sub-sample was
placed in a crucible and thermally ignited at 375 ºC for four hours using a muffle furnace [20]. The
mean physicochemical properties of the substrates used are presented in Table 2.
Table 2
Physicochemical properties of the substrate
Total N Available P,
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Note: T1 – arable topsoil, T2 – arable topsoil + animal manure compost, T3 – arable topsoil + pine sawdust
compost, and T4- arable topsoil + coffee pulp compost.
Data collection
Days of emergence, mean number of leaves, mean plant height (cm), fresh weight (g), and mean
dry weight (g) of the plant stock were determined. The emergence days were counted and recorded
after 50 % of the seedling emerged as the first date, and the last seed that emerged is recorded the last.
The number of leaves from each replication was counted and recorded separately. The plant height
was measured using a ruler from the ground to the tipping point and recorded in cm. After eight weeks
of phenotype observation, the whole plants in each replication were harvested for material analysis.
The harvested plants were carefully washed with tap water and rinsed with de-ionized water, separated
from living roots and shoots for fresh weight recording [21]. Finally, oven dried to constant weight in
a forced draft oven at 800c and then bulked for each replication for above ground and below ground
dry biomass analysis [21].
Data analysis
The response data were analyzed on IBM SPSS Statistics 20. For each response variable, two
phases of statistical analysis were employed. The first step involved one way ANOVA to determine
whether the observed response among the main factors of interest (compost types) was significant.
The second phase involved further analysis in comparing means to detect the differences among the
tested treatments. The means of significant response parameters were separated using the TukeyKramer Honestly Significant Difference (HSD) test at α < 0.05 level of significance.
Results and discussion
Literature confirms that increase of the grain yield of chickpeas with the application of various
nutrients is due to the improvement of plant growth and yield attributes [22]. In spite of its virtues,
compost from coffee pulp and husk was not extensively used in field crop production of the Ethiopian
farming system. The impacts of different types of substrates on the plant growth and yield are
presented in Figures 3-6, and 7.
For plant height at flowering, the interaction between the growth media and the plant height was
highly significant (p < 0.001) (Figure 3). Similar to the observation made by Mula et al. [23] the
topsoil that received compost and manure had significantly produced taller plants at flowering with
39.31cm (topsoil amended with animal manure) and 36.65cm (topsoil amended with coffee pulp
compost). The minimum height of 31.78 is recorded for compost unamended topsoil.
Fig. 3. Effect of growth media on the Cicer arietinum L. height at flowering (mean ± stdev):
values with different subscripts are non-homogeneous at α < 0.05 Tukey-Kramer’s HSD test
Jelgava, 25.-27.05.2016.
For the average leaflet number per plant per pot, the relations between the growth media and the
number of leaflets was not significant (p < 0.63) (Figure 4). However, in terms of the leaf health and
vitality, the topsoil that received animal manure and coffee pulp compost is better than the other two.
Fig. 4. Effect of the growth media on the number of Cicer arietinum L.
leaflets on different days of growth
For mean days of the emergency, the interaction between the growth media and the average day
of emergency was highly significant (p < 0.003) (Figure 5). The topsoil that received coffee pulp
compost gave rise to all the seedlings two days before the non amended topsoil.
Fig. 5. Effect of growth media on the days of Cicer arietinum L. emergence (mean ± stdev):
values with different subscripts are non-homogeneous at α < 0.05 Tukey-Kramer’s HSD test.
For the total above and below ground biomass, the interaction between the growth media with
Cicer arietinum L. harvested clean weight was highly significant (p < 0.001) (Figure 6). The topsoil
that received compost from different sources gave a similar fresh weight. The maximum value of
46.08 grams of fresh weight was recorded for the topsoil that received animal manure.
For the total above and below ground dry weight per pot, the interaction between the growth
media with Cicer arietinum L. dry weight was highly significant (p < 0.001) (Figure 7). The fresh
weight, as well as the dry weight measured for the topsoil that received compost made from coffee
Jelgava, 25.-27.05.2016.
pulp and sawdust, were quite similar. The maximum dry weight of 14.69 grams per pot was recorded
for the topsoil that received animal manure.
Fig. 6. Total fresh weight of Cicer arietinum L. in different growth media (mean ± stdev):
values with different subscripts are non-homogeneous at α < 0.05 Tukey-Kramer’s HSD test.
Fig. 7. Total dry weight of Cicer arietinum L. in different growth media (mean ± stdev):
values with different subscripts are non-homogeneous at α < 0.05 Tukey-Kramer’s HSD test.
In most yield attributes, the pots that received animal manure performed better than the other
organic substrates followed by coffee pulp compost. Amending the topsoil with different types of
organic substrates resulted in a lower date of emergency, higher plant height, and higher above and
below ground biomass indicating the possibility of transferring the present non beneficial use of coffee
pulp into coffee pulp compost for better management.
The observed results might be due to the improvement of the physicochemical and biological
properties of the topsoil such as the fertility, structure and texture, water holding capacity, water
infiltration, permeability, and aeration following the application of soil organic matter (compost) [24].
Soil organic matter is a host for microorganisms in the soil, maintains aggregate stability, decreases
bulk density and is used as an exchange site for different chemical elements in the soil. These
functions are all essential for soil health. Similar studies indicated that amending agricultural soils
Jelgava, 25.-27.05.2016.
with organic matter such as compost supplies plant nutrients and improves the physicochemical and
biological characteristics and enhances the natural exchange of gasses with the atmosphere [25; 26].
Catalin [27] confirmed that applying compost on mining sterile soil at different periods increased
an average chickpeas yield attributes in harmony with the results of the current study. The significant
lower growth rate of seedling in unamended topsoil and low rate of seed germination and emergence
might be due to lower pH (5.5) of the soil as compared to the recommended crop requisite span of
6-7 [28]. The higher organic matter content of coffee pulp compost (Table 2) as compared to sawdust
and its free availability as compared with animal manure could make it a better option to be used as a
field soil amendment to improve the soil organic matter content for field crop production.
Supplementing the topsoil with compost significantly increased the foliar growth and improved
the plant biomass. Enhancement of the microbial nitrogen fixation activities in the soil from the
improved soil physicochemical properties following composting was the main cause of the change. In
a comparable observation [22], the use of compost from various organic sources improved the
chickpeas growth and yield attributes over none application trials. It is also reported that the use of
compost has a beneficial effect on the chickpeas yield and nutrient content [29-32].
The current study statistically and numerically showed that the use of compost made from coffee
pulp as an amendment to the topsoil improved the physicochemical properties of the soil thereby
enhanced the yield components of chickpeas under a greenhouse condition. Coffee pulp compost
amended topsoil gave a significantly higher above ground and below ground fresh and dry weight
compared with the non-amended topsoil and topsoil amended with sawdust compost. There was a
significant difference between the topsoil amended with coffee pulp compost on the seedling
emergence and plant height confirming the coffee pulp compost use being the best in enhancing
Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum L.) performances in the current study. A superior enhancement effect of
farm animal manure compost on the yield attributes was also observed. Generally, amending topsoil
with 20 % of coffee pulp compost by volume improved the soil physicochemical and biological
properties that enhanced the plant growth and yield attributes, indicating the potential use of
composted coffee pulp on the field as an alternative source of bio-fertilizer to improve the organic
carbon content of poor soils in Ethiopia.
This work is supported by the Wuhan University of Technology through the Chinese Government
Scholarship Program. The authors are indebted to the two concealed reviewers for their valuable
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