Terra Chapingo, vol. 20 (2002) pp. 153-160
= Refuse of leaf-cutting ant (Atta mexicana Smith), an organic fertilizer for vegetable production. The refuse of the leaf-cutting ant (Atta mexicana Smith) is a potential resource for organic fertilization of field crops and is used as vegetable manure on small-irrigated farms in semiarid lands. Nest distribution and abundance, the nutrient value of the refuse and its use by farmers was studied in the oasis of Santa Maria del Rio, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Ant colonies were located in areas surrounding agricultural fields. Samples of this refuse were analyzed for N, P, K, Ca, Mg, organic carbon, and pH. Interviews with farmers were conducted in order to determine their method for using this refuse. The ant refuse had a high N content and a low P level. The average pH was 5.8. This refuse is used primarily as a fertilizer for Cucurbita pepo L. Farmers fill each planting hole (locally called "cajete") with 300 to 600 g of this organic fertilizer before sowing.
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