Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 101-109

Differences in Yields, Residue Composition and N Mineralization Dynamics of Bt and Non-Bt Maize

  • Nancy W. MungaiAffiliated withDepartment of Soil Science, Egerton University Email author 
  • , Peter P. MotavalliAffiliated withDepartment of Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Missouri
  • , Kelly A. NelsonAffiliated withDepartment of Agronomy, Greenley Memorial Research Center, University of Missouri
  • , Robert J. KremerAffiliated withUSDA-ARS

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Cultivation of genetically modified crops may have several direct and indirect effects on soil ecosystem processes, such as soil nitrogen (N) transformations. Field studies were initiated in Northeast Missouri in 2002 and 2003 to determine grain and biomass yields and the effects of application of crop residues from five Bt maize hybrids and their respective non-Bt isolines on soil inorganic N under tilled and no-till conditions in a maize-soybean rotation. A separate aerobic incubation study examined soil N mineralization from residue components (leaves, stems, roots) of one Bt maize hybrid and its non-Bt isoline in soils of varying soil textural class. Three Bt maize hybrids produced 13–23% greater grain yields than the non-Bt isolines. Generally no differences in leaf and stem tissues composition and biomass was observed between Bt and non-Bt maize varieties. Additionally, no differences were observed in cumulative N mineralization from Bt and non-Bt maize residues, except for non-Bt maize roots that mineralized 2.7 times more N than Bt maize roots in silt loam soil. Incorporation of Bt residues in the field did not significantly affect soil inorganic N under tilled or no-till conditions. Overall Bt and non-Bt maize residues did not differ in their effect on N dynamics in laboratory and field studies.

Key words

Above ground biomass Bt maize Grain yields N mineralization Soil inorganic N