Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 85, Issue 3, pp 241–252 | Cite as

Concentration of trace elements in arable soil after long-term application of organic and inorganic fertilizers

  • Dharam Uprety
  • Michal Hejcman
  • Jiřina Száková
  • Eva Kunzová
  • Pavel Tlustoš
Research article


The Ruzyně Fertilizer Experiment (RFE, the Czech Republic) was established on a permanent arable field (illimerized Luvisol) in 1955. The effects of long-term application of several organic fertilizers (dung water, farmyard manure, poultry litter) and mineral N, P and K fertilizers on plant-available (extracted by CaCl2), easily mobilizable (extracted by EDTA), potentially mobilizable (extracted by HNO3) and total concentrations of trace elements were investigated in 2008. Concentrations of all analyzed trace elements in the applied fertilizers did not exceed the limits permitted by Czech national legislation. Concentrations of As, Cd and Cr were highest in single superphosphate, those of Cu, Mn and Ni were highest in poultry litter and those of Pb and Zn were highest in dung water. Poultry litter had the second highest concentration of As and Zn. Poultry litter supplied the soils with considerable amounts of Cu, Mn and Zn and increased their concentrations in the soil. There was also a significant increase in plant availability of Mn, Ni and Zn and a decrease in soil pH. Although all fertilizers were applied for five decades, total concentrations of As, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in soil remained far below Czech legislation limits. For Cu and Zn this was probably due to the relatively low mean annual application rates of poultry litter. Total Cd concentrations in soil exceeded the legislative limit even in the control (without any fertilizer inputs) and the effect of treatment was not significant. This indicates that fertilizers were not the main source of Cd in the experimental area. Therefore, common cropping practices do not induce soil contamination by trace elements even if they have been applied for more than 50 years.


Chicken slurry Long-term field experiment Heavy metals Gray-brown soil Zinc and Copper 



The authors are deeply indebted to Dr. Baier, the founder of the experiment. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the Czech Ministry of Agriculture enabling the long-term existence of the experiment. Special thanks go to Dr. Lipavský and Mr. Ivičic for their technical support and to anonymous reviewers for their useful comments. Data collection and finalization of the paper was supported by the projects MA 0002700601, GAČR 521/08/1131, GAČR 521/06/0496, GAČR 205/06/0298 and MSM 6046070901.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dharam Uprety
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michal Hejcman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jiřina Száková
    • 3
  • Eva Kunzová
    • 2
  • Pavel Tlustoš
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EcologyCzech University of Life SciencesPrague 6—SuchdolCzech Republic
  2. 2.Crop Research InstitutePrague 6—RuzyněCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Agrochemistry and Plant NutritionCzech University of Life SciencesPrague 6—SuchdolCzech Republic

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