Freshwater sapropel (gyttja): its description, properties and opportunities of use in contemporary agriculture
University of Latvia, Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences, Department of Environmental Science, Jelgavas street 1, LV-1004, Riga
Sapropel (gyttja or dy) is a type of fine-grained and loose sediments, rich in organic matter, deposited in freshwater bodies. Properties of sapropel and quite wide possibilities of extraction makes it as an important natural resource that can be used predominantly in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, farming. Sapropel and its processing products are environmentally friendly, non-toxic, with a definite content of nutrients. The aim of the current paper was to gather the available information about the sapropel properties and its application in agriculture as soil fertilizer or soil amendment, indicating the efficiency and possible ways amounts of application. Another reason why the investigation of sapropel is important in the Baltic States and northern Europe is its wide distribution and availability in freshwater bodies that leads to find out new ways of extraction and bioeconomically-effective utilization of this highly valuable natural resource, obtainable in economically significant amounts, with high opportunities of its use in agriculture. Contemporary agriculture strongly desiderates in new products of high effectivity enhancing soil and crop productivity and quality hand in hand with sustainable development and careful attitude to the nature and surrounding environment.