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Geoderma
Volume 379, 2020, 114632

Effect of soil fertility on the allocation of nitrogen derived from different maize residue parts in the soil-plant system

Yingde Xua,c, Xueli Dingb, Rattan Lalc, Xiaodan Gaoa, Shuangyi Lia, Liangjie Suna, Yang Wanga, Ming Lia, Shubin Baid, Jingkuan Wanga

Northeast Key Laboratory of Conservation and Improvement of Cultivated Land (Shenyang), Ministry of Agriculture, College of Land and Environment, Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang 110866, China.

Abstract

Crop residue incorporation is an effective agricultural management to enhance soil organic carbon and nitrogen (N) sequestration, which inevitably affects the crop N uptake, and consequently the allocation of N in the soil-plant system. However, to what extent the crop residue type and soil fertility moderate the contribution and recovery of maize (Zea mays. L) residue-derived N (residue-N) in the soil-plant system is poorly understood. Therefore, a 2-year in situ experiment was conducted on an Alfisol with high fertility (HF) and low fertility (LF), along with the application of 15N-labeled maize root or straw (both stem and leaf) residues. The results showed that the HF treatment had a smaller proportion of residue-N in total N uptake compared with the LF treatment (on average of 2.0% vs. 3.6%), but with a larger recovery rate (on average of 23.5% vs. 12.8%). The application of straw residues increased the proportion of residue-N in plant total N compared with that from the application of root residues in the HF treatment. The percentage of residue-N in total soil N (TSN) and the residue-N recovery in the LF soil were 60.7–108.5% and 9.6–25.8% higher than those in the HF soil, respectively. The proportion of root-derived N (root-N) in TSN was significantly higher than that of straw-derived N (straw-N) in the LF soil. In addition, total residue-N recovery rates were similar among all residue-amended treatments. The results indicated that the soil with high fertility could increase residue-N utilization by plant, especially the straw-N, while the soil with low fertility favored the accumulation of the residue-N in soil, especially the root-N, and its low fertility was more likely to be improved. Overall, soil fertility and residue type could significantly affect the allocation of maize residue-N in the soil-plant system.

Keywords: Soil fertility, Residue N, Allocation, Residue type, Soil-plant system.

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