n mineralization
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2022 ◽  
Vol 14 (2) ◽  
pp. 9
Daniel M. Kalala ◽  
Victor Shitumbanuma ◽  
Benson H. Chishala ◽  
Alice M. Mweetwa ◽  
Andreas Fliessbach

For studying the effect of soil fertility management practices on N mineralization, urease activity and maize yield, replicated field trials were established in 2015 at Misamfu and Msekera agricultural research stations (ARS) representing two geo-climatic regions of Zambia. The soil at Msekera ARS is a sandy clay loam (SCL) from a Paleustult, while that at Misamfu is a loamy sand (LS) from a Kandiustult. The field trials had three categories of treatments namely legumes, traditional and conventional. The legumes group consisted of researcher-recommended legume-cereal intercrop systems of maize with Cajanus cajan, Crotalaria juncea and Tephrosia vogelii in combination with compound D (10% N, 20% P2O5, 10% K2O) and urea (46% N) at the recommended rate (200 kg ha-1) and half of the recommended rate (100 kg ha-1). Composted cattle manure and Fundikila, a special plant biomass management technique, were the inputs under the traditional category. The conventional category consisted of a treatment to which only chemical fertilizer was applied. Urease activity was determined in surface soil samples (0-20 cm) collected from the field trials after 3 years. For N mineralization, a laboratory incubation study was conducted over 13 weeks. For the laboratory incubation, an additional treatment to which no input was applied was included as control. Application of organic inputs significantly increased the potentially mineralizable N (No) by 127% to 256% on the LS and by 51% to 131% on the SCL in comparison to the control. Similarly, the cumulative N mineralized (Ncum) was twice or thrice higher where organic inputs had been applied in comparison to the control. The No followed the order traditional > legumes > conventional > control, while the mineralization rate constant (k) followed the order legumes > conventional > traditional > control on both soils. The rate of N mineralization was significantly higher on the LS than the SCL. Higher rates of chemical fertilizer resulted in high Ncum and higher maize yield. Maize yield was significantly and positively correlated to Ncum, but inversely correlated to the amount of applied N that was mineralized (%Nmin). Urease activity was stimulated by application of organic inputs and suppressed by higher rates of chemical fertilizers. The type of organic inputs; the rate of chemical fertilizers; and soil texture are factors influencing N mineralization and maize yield. Urease activity was largely influenced by the rate of chemical fertilizer, but not the type of organic inputs or soil texture.

Agronomy ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 12 (1) ◽  
pp. 151
Pramod Jha ◽  
Kuntal M. Hati ◽  
Ram C. Dalal ◽  
Yash P. Dang ◽  
Peter M. Kopittke ◽  

In subtropical regions, we have an incomplete understanding of how long-term tillage, stubble, and nitrogen (N) fertilizer management affects soil biological functioning. We examined a subtropical site managed for 50 years using varying tillage (conventional till (CT) and no-till (NT)), stubble management (stubble burning (SB) and stubble retention (SR)), and N fertilization (0 (N0), 30 (N30), and 90 (N90) kg ha−1 y−1) to assess their impact on soil microbial respiration, easily extractable glomalin-related soil protein (EEGRSP), and N mineralization. A significant three-way tillage × stubble × N fertilizer interaction was observed for soil respiration, with NT+SB+N0 treatments generally releasing the highest amounts of CO2 over the incubation period (1135 mg/kg), and NT+SR+N0 treatments releasing the lowest (528 mg/kg). In contrast, a significant stubble × N interaction was observed for both EEGRSP and N mineralization, with the highest concentrations of both EEGRSP (2.66 ± 0.86 g kg−1) and N mineralization (30.7 mg/kg) observed in SR+N90 treatments. Furthermore, N mineralization was also positively correlated with EEGRSP (R2 = 0.76, p < 0.001), indicating that EEGRSP can potentially be used as an index of soil N availability. Overall, this study has shown that SR and N fertilization have a positive impact on soil biological functioning.

2021 ◽  
Norman Gentsch ◽  
Diana Heuermann ◽  
Jens Boy ◽  
Steffen Schierding ◽  
Nicolaus von Wirén ◽  

Abstract. Improving N cycling in agroecosystems is one of the key challenges in reducing the environmental footprint of agriculture. Further, uncertainty in precipitation makes crop water management relevant in regions where it has not been necessary thus far. Here, we focus on the potential of winter-killed catch crops to reduce N leaching losses from N mineralization over the winter and soil water management. We compared four single catch crops (white mustard, phacelia, Egyptian clover and bristle oat) and a fallow treatment with two catch crop mixtures with 4 and 12 plant species (Mix4 and Mix12). High-resolution soil mineral N (Nmin) monitoring in combination with modelling of spatiotemporal dynamics served to assess N cycling under winter-killed catch crops, while soil water was continuously monitored in the rooting zone. Catch crops depleted the residual Nmin pools by between 40 and 72 % compared to the fallow. The amount of residual N uptake was lowest for clover and not significantly different among the other catch crops. Catch crops that produce high N litter materials, such as clover and mustard leaves, showed an early N mineralization flush immediately after their termination and the highest leaching losses from litter mineralization over the winter. Except for clover, all catch crops showed Nmin values between 18 and 92 % higher on the sowing date of the following maize crop. However, only Mix12 was statistically significant. Catch crops depleted the soil water storage in the rooting zone during their growth in autumn and early winter, but preserved water later on when their residues cover the ground. The shallow incorporation of catch crop residues increased water storage capacity during the cropping season of the main crop even under drought conditions. Hence, catch cropping is not just a simple plant cover during the winter but improved the growth conditions for the following crop at decreased N losses. Mixtures have been shown to compensate for the weaknesses of individual catch crop species in terms of nutrient capture, mineralization and transfer to the following main crop as well as for soil water management. Detailed knowledge about plant performance during growth and litter mineralization patterns is necessary to make optimal use of their full potential.

2021 ◽  
Vol 5 ◽  
Conor Watson ◽  
Timo Preißing ◽  
Florian Wichern

Insect protein production is considered a sustainable alternative to livestock protein which furthermore utilizes waste streams. Its production can have positive but also potentially negative environmental effects, which require evaluation. Frass, the byproduct of insect production, is regarded an efficient organic fertilizer or soil amendment. However, several studies report negative frass effects on plant growth and nitrogen (N) cycling. Therefore, a pot trial was carried out which sought to understand N release from frass and subsequent growth and nutrient uptake of Italian ryegrass. Mealworm frass (MWF) or buffalo worm frass (BFW) was applied at two rates (1.5 and 3% w/w) to a soil-sand mix. To evaluate N release processes, frass was applied alone, with a nitrification inhibitor (NI), a urease inhibitor (UI), or both (NI+UI). Plant N, nutrient uptake and soil inorganic N were measured at the experiment's end. To gauge whether altered N fluxes induced changes in the microbial community, soil microbial biomass, bacterial/archaeal abundances and ergosterol content as a fungal biomarker, were determined. Both frass types and application rates stimulated microbial growth and N mineralization. The 3% rate inhibited seed germination, possibly due to salinity or ammonia toxicity. At the 1.5% rate, both frass types were effective fertilizers. MWF led to higher biomass and nutrient uptake, owing to its higher extractable nutrient concentrations. The 3% rate caused nitrite accumulation in the absence of NI. NI improved plant biomass, nutrient uptake, stimulated archaeal and bacterial abundances and prevented nitrite accumulation. UI reduced N mineralization, showing that a substantial fraction of frass organic N is ureic. UI enhanced fungal contribution to the microbial biomass, revealing the importance of bacteria in frass N mineralization processes when UI is not applied. NI and UI combined, induced greater N release from frass than UI or NI alone. Our study demonstrated the usefulness of NI and UI in studying N release from frass. NI can improve plant N uptake and minimize N losses following frass application, reducing its potentially negative effects. UI can retard N release from frass, allowing its application as a slow-release fertilizer, but should not be used concurrently with NI.

Agronomy ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (11) ◽  
pp. 2163
Shihab Uddin ◽  
Mohammad Rafiqul Islam ◽  
Mohammad Mofizur Rahman Jahangir ◽  
Mohammad Mojibur Rahman ◽  
Sabry Hassan ◽  

Understanding nitrogen (N) release patterns and kinetics is a key challenge for improving N use efficiency in any agroecosystem. An incubation experiment was done to study the N release pattern and kinetics of contrasting soils amended with compost (CO), poultry manure (PM), rice husk biochar (RHB), poultry manure biochar (PMB) and cowdung (CD) combined with chemical fertilizer (integrated plant nutrient system, IPNS approach) under two moisture regimes, viz. field capacity (FC) and continuous standing water (CSW) at 25 °C for 120 days. Our results revealed that NH4+-N was the dominant under CSW conditions, whereas NO3−-N was dominant under FC conditions. Net mineral N data fitted well to the first order kinetic model. Both N release potential (N0) and rate constant (k) were greater in acidic soil than those of charland soil. The maximum N release varied between 24.90–76.29% of input depending on soil type and moisture status. N mineralization was strongly correlated with urea N application. PM and PMB mineralized in all soil and moisture conditions whereas N immobilization was observed in the case of RHB. N mineralization was strongly correlated with urea N application. Gaseous N losses were different for the organic amendments exhibiting more gaseous N losses in PM, CD and CO based IPNS whereas the lowest gaseous N loss was observed in PMB based IPNS. Biochar based IPNS increased soil pH in all conditions. Thus, the present study suggests that N release depends on soil type, soil moisture and type of organic amendment. However, CO, PM and CD based IPNS can be recommended for both acidic and charland soils in terms of N release as short duration crops will suffer from N deficiency if biochar based IPNS is used in the field.

Forests ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 12 (11) ◽  
pp. 1470
Inmaculada Bautista ◽  
Luis Lado-Monserrat ◽  
Cristina Lull ◽  
Antonio Lidón

In order to assess the sustainability of silvicultural treatments in semiarid forests, it is necessary to know how they affect the nutrient dynamics in the forest. The objective of this paper is to study the effects of silvicultural treatments on the net N mineralization and the available mineral N content in the soil after 13 years following forest clearings. The treatments were carried out following a randomized block design, with four treatments and two blocks. The distance between the two blocks was less than 3 km; they were located in Chelva (CH) and Tuéjar (TU) in Valencia, Spain. Within each block, four experimental clearing treatments were carried out in 1998: T0 control; and T60, T75 and T100 where 60%, 75% and 100 of basal area was eliminated, respectively. Nitrogen dynamics were measured using the resin tube technique, with disturbed samples due to the high stoniness of the plots. Thirteen years after the experimental clearings, T100, T75 and T60 treatments showed a twofold increase in the net mineralization and nitrification rates with respect to T0 in both blocks (TU and CH). Within the plots, the highest mineralization was found in sites with no plant cover followed by those covered by undergrowth. These results can be explained in terms of the different litterfall qualities, which in turn are the result of the proportion of material originating from Pinus halepensis Mill. vs. more decomposable undergrowth residues.

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