Alternate partial root-zone irrigation improves fertilizer-N use efficiency in tomatoes
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The objective of this study was to investigate the comparative effects of alternative partial root-zone irrigation (PRI) and deficit irrigation (DI) on fertilizer-N use efficiency in tomato plants under mineral N and organic N fertilizations. The plants were grown in split-root pots in a climate-controlled glasshouse and were subjected to PRI and DI treatments during early fruiting stage. When analyzed across the N fertilizer treatments, PRI treatment led to significantly higher N yield, agronomic N use efficiency (ANUE), and apparent N recovery efficiency (ANRE) as compared with the DI treatment, indicating significantly higher fertilizer-N use efficiency and soil N availability as well as enhanced plant’s N acquisition ability in the PRI treatment. Analysis across the irrigation treatments showed that the mineral N fertilizer treatment (MinN) significantly increased N yield, ANUE and ANRE relative to the organic N fertilizer treatment (OrgN). Compared with DI, the rhizosphere and bulk soil mineral N content in the soil were significantly lowered in the PRI treatment, indicating the enhanced root N uptake efficiency. It is suggested that PRI-enhanced soil water dynamics may have increased soil nitrate mass/diffusive flow to the root surfaces and root N uptake efficiency in the wetting soil and stimulated soil N mineralization and plant N demand, contributing to the improved fertilizer-N use efficiency in the PRI relative to the DI treatment.
KeywordsSoil Water Content Fertilizer Treatment Irrigation Treatment Deficit Irrigation Soil Water Dynamic
The technical assistance of the colleagues of the experimental farm and the laboratory staff at Taastrup and Frederiksberg Campus, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen are greatly appreciated.
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