Plant and Soil

, Volume 220, Issue 1, pp 261–270

Fate of urea-15N in a soil-wheat system as influenced by urease inhibitor hydroquinone and nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide


  • Xingkai Xu
  • Likai Zhou
  • Oswald Van Cleemput
  • Zijian Wang

DOI: 10.1023/A:1004715827085

Cite this article as:
Xu, X., Zhou, L., Van Cleemput, O. et al. Plant and Soil (2000) 220: 261. doi:10.1023/A:1004715827085


By applying labeled urea into a loamy meadow brown soil, a pot experiment with spring wheat as test crop was carried out. The results showed that at the end of this experiment, the plant recovery, the soil recovery and the total loss of applied urea 15N was 17.7–23.7%, 43.7–56.3% and 20.0–36.8%, respectively. 15N recovery by wheat grain in any treatment varied within a range of 9.0–14.7% of the applied 15N. A combined application of hydroquinone (HQ) and dicyandiamide (DCD) gave the lowest loss and the highest recoveries in both the plant and soil, while applying HQ or DCD alone had less effect on them. During the whole period of wheat growth, HQ+DCD induced an increasing 15N uptake by plant, and even promoted the translocation of absorbed 15N from stem to grain. In the presence of inhibitors, organic plus chemically fixed 15N occupied a large portion of soil 15N recovery at maturity stage of wheat growth (34.3–50.6%, in contrast to 9.9% in the absence of inhibitors), and DCD and DCD+HQ could remarkably reduce the remaining soil (NO3-+NO2-)-15N. In this pot experiment, the leaching loss of applied 15N was excluded, and hence, the gaseous loss was considered as the main part of the 15N loss. Regarding N loss, N2O flux only occupied a very small part, and its main part was other gaseous N losses. DCD and DCD+HQ retarded N2O flux from the soil-wheat system after treatment with urea and reduced the total N2O flux during the whole period of wheat growth. Treatment with both inhibitors had much lower gaseous N losses than that with HQ or DCD alone. Hence, a proper combination application of HQ and DCD is an efficient way to improve urea-N efficiency and crop quality, while decreasing its loss to the environment.

dicyandiamidegaseous N losseshydroquinonenitrous oxidespring wheaturea-15N

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000