Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 115–119 | Cite as

Effect of pH on nitrogen mineralization in crop-residue-treated soils

  • M. H. Fu
  • X. C. Xu
  • M. A. Tabatabai


This study compares N mineralization in soils treated with crop residues [corn (Zea mays L.), soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.), sorghum (Sorghum vulgare Pers.)] or alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) at three adjusted soil pH values (4, 6, and 8); pH was adjusted with dilute H2SO4 or KOH. A sample of soil (20 g) was treated with 0.448 g plant material (equivalent to 50t ha−1), mixed with 20 g silica sand adjusted to the pH of the soil, and packed in a leaching tube. The soil-sand mixture was leached with 100 ml 5 mM CaCl2 adjusted to the same pH as that of the treated soil to remove the initial mineral N, and incubated at 30°C. The leaching procedure was repeated every 2 weeks for 20 weeks. Results from three soils showed that N mineralization increased as the soil pH increased. In one soil (Lester soil), significant amounts of NH 4 + -N accumulated at pH 4 during the first 12 weeks. Treatment with corn and soybean residues resulted in a marked reduction in N mineralization, especially at pH 4. The percentage of organic N mineralized from sorghum residue and alfalfa added to soils increased as the soil pH increased; the values ranged from 7.7% to 37.0% for sorghum and from 17.2% to 30.1% for alfalfa.

Key words

Acid rain N turnover N immobilization Soil pH Minimum tillage N mineralization 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. H. Fu
    • 1
  • X. C. Xu
    • 1
  • M. A. Tabatabai
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AgronomyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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