C and N mineralisation of straw of traditional and modern wheat varieties in soils of contrasting fertility

  • Roberto García-RuizEmail author
  • Guiomar Carranza-Gallego
  • Eduardo Aguilera
  • Manuel González De Molina
  • Gloria I. Guzmán
Original Article


Incorporation of crop residues can increase SOC stocks, but the extent of this depends on their C:N ratio and soil nutrient availability. Traditional wheat varieties (TWV) typically produce high straw biomass with high C:N ratio. We hypothesised that C:N ratio of straw of TWV are higher than those of modern (MWV) ones, resulting in lower carbon (C) mineralisation potential, especially in nutrient-poor (NP) soils. Furthermore, soil nitrogen (N) retention is expected to be higher during decomposition of straw of TWV with high C:N ratio. Straw productivity of six TWV and six MWV was measured during a 2-year field experiment, in nutrient-rich (NR) and NP soils. Cumulative CO2 emissions and soil N availability were also examined in these soils amended with straw residues with C:N ratios of 89.2, 148.6 and 202.7 during an 84-day lab experiment. Straw production of TWV was 1.31–1.74 times higher compared to MWV. Straw C:N ratio of TWV in NP soil averaged 152.1, greater than that of MWV (119.8). Straw-derived CO2 emissions in NR soils were 2.5–4.3 times higher than NP and were the lowest in straw C:N ratio of TWV. After the addition of straw, immobilised N was partially re-mineralised in the NR soil with lower values at higher straw C:N ratio. N immobilisation also occurred in straw amended NP soil independently of the straw residues C:N ratio. The higher straw productivity and higher C:N ratio of TWV can contribute to C accumulation and prevent N losses after its incorporation in soils.


Traditional and modern wheat varieties C:N ratios of wheat straw residues CO2 production Soil N dynamics 



This work springs from the international research project on Sustainable Farm Systems: Long-Term Socio-Ecological Metabolism in Western Agriculture funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC 895-2011-1020) and Spanish research projects HAR2012-38920-C02-01 and HAR2015-69620-C2-1-P funded by Ministerio de Econoñmía y Competitividad (Spain).


  1. Agren GI, Weih M (2012) Plant stoichiometry at different scales: element concentration patterns reflect environment more than genotype. New Phytol 194:944–952. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson JPE (1982) Soil respiration. In: Page AL et al (eds) Methods of soil analysis. Part 2. Chemical and microbiological properties, 2nd edn. ASA and SSSA, Madison, pp 831–853Google Scholar
  3. Bellucci E, Bitocchi E, Rau D, Nanni L, Ferradini N, Giardini A et al (2013) Population structure of barley landrace populations and gene-flow with modern varieties. PLoS ONE 8(12):e83891. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blanco-Canqui H, Lal R (2009) Crop residue removal impacts on soil productivity and environmental quality. Crit Rev Plant Sci 28:139–163. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carranza-Gallego G, Guzmán G, Garcia-Ruiz R, González de Molina M, Aguilera E (2018) Contribution of traditional wheat varieties to climate change mitigation under contrasting managements and rainfed Mediterranean conditions. J Clean Prod 195:111–121. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen R, Senbayram M, Blagodatsky S, Myachina O, Dittert K, Lin X, Blagodatskaya E, Kuzyakov Y (2014) Soil C and N availability determine the priming effect: microbial N mining and stoichiometric decomposition theories. Glob Chang Biol 20:2356–2367. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Coromaldi M, Pallante G, Savastano S (2015) Adoption of modern varieties, farmers’ welfare and crop biodiversity: evidence from Uganda. Ecol Econ 119:346–358. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Di Palo F, Fornara D (2015) Soil fertility and the carbon:nutrient stoichiometry of herbaceous plant species. Ecosphere 6:273. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Freibauer A, Rounsevell MDA, Smith P, Verhagen J (2004) Carbon sequestration in the agricultural soils of Europe. Geoderma 122:1–23. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Garcia-Ruiz R, Baggs EM (2007) N2O emission from soil following combined application of fertilizer-N and ground weed residues. Plant Soil 299:263–274. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gómez-Muñoz B, Valero-Valenzuela JD, Hinojosa MB, García-Ruiz R (2016) Management of tree pruning residues to improve soil organic carbon in olive groves. Eur J Soil Biol 74:104–113. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Guarda G, Padovan S, Delogu G (2004) Grain yield nitrogen-use efficiency and baking quality of traditional and modern Italian bread-wheat cultivars grown at different nitrogen levels. Europ J Agronomy 21:181–192. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Guzmán GI, García-Ruiz R, Sánchez M, Martos V, García del Moral LF (2010) Influencia del manejo y las variedades de cultivo (tradicionales versus modernas) en la composición elemental de la cosecha del trigo. In: Garrabou R, de González de Molina M (eds) La reposición de la fertilidad en los sistemas agrarios tradicionales, Icaria edn. Consejería de Agricultura y Pesca, Sevilla, pp 69–83Google Scholar
  14. Herron P, Stark JM, Holt C, Hooker T, Cardon ZG (2009) Microbial growth efficiencies across a soil moisture gradient assessed using 13C-acetic acid vapor and 15N-ammonia gas. Soil Biol Biochem 41:1262–1269. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Houghton RA (2003) Revised estimates of the annual net flux of carbon to the atmosphere from changes in land use and land management 1850–2000. Tellus B 55:378–390. Google Scholar
  16. Huang Y, Zou J, Zheng X, Wang Y, Xu X (2004) Nitrous oxide emissions as influenced by amendment of plant residues with different C: N ratios. Soil Biol Biochem 36:973–981. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ilstedt U, Nordgren A, Malmer A (2000) Optimum soil water for soil respiration before and after amendment with glucose in humid tropical acrisols and a boreal mor layer. Soil Biol Biochem 32:1591–1599. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jastrow JD, Miller RM, Lussenhop J (1998) Contributions of interacting biological mechanisms to soil aggregate stabilization in restored prairie. Soil Biol Biochem 30:905–916CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Keeney DR, Nelson DW (1982) Nitrogen: inorganic forms. In: Page AL, Miller RH, Keeney DR (eds) Methods of soil analysis, Part 2. American Society of Agronomy and Soil Science Society of America, Madison, pp 643–689Google Scholar
  20. Khan SA, Mulvaney RL, Ellsworth TR, Boast CW (2007) The myth of nitrogen fertilization for soil carbon sequestration. J Environ Qual 36:1821–1832. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Killham K, Amato M, Ladd J (1993) Effect of substrate location in soil and soil pore-water regime on carbon turnover. Soil Biol Biochem 25:57–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lal R (2004) Soil carbon sequestration impacts on global climate change and food security. Science. 304:1623–1627. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lammerts van Bueren ET, Jones SS, Tamm L, Murphy KM, Myers JR, Leifert C, Messmer MM (2010) The need to breed crop varieties suitable for organic farming, using wheat, tomato and broccoli as examples: a review. NJAS Wagening J Life Sci. Google Scholar
  24. Lehtinen T, Schlatter N, Baumgarten A, Bechini L, Krüger J, Grignani C, Zavattaro L, Costamagna C, Spiegel H (2014) Effect of crop residue incorporation on soil organic carbon and greenhouse gas emissions in European agricultural soils. Soil Use Manag 4:524–538. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Liu C, Lu M, Cui J, Li B, Fang C (2014) Effects of straw carbon input on carbon dynamics in agricultural soils: a meta-analysis. Global Change Biol. 20:1366–1381. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lorenz AJ, Gustafson TJ, Coors JG, De Leon N (2010) Breeding maize for a bioeconomy: a literature survey examining harvest index and stover yield and their relationship to grain yield. Crop Sci 50:1–12. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Manzoni S, Porporato A (2009) Soil carbon and nitrogen mineralization: theory and models across scales. Soil Biol Biochem 41:1355–1379. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mulvaney RL, Khan SA, Ellsworth TR (2009) Synthetic nitrogen fertilizers deplete soil nitrogen: a global dilemma for sustainable cereal production. J Environ Qual 38:2295–2314. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Newton AC, Aker T, Baresel JP, Bebeli P et al (2010) Cereal landraces for sustainable agriculture: a review. Agron Sustain Dev 30:237–269. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Powlson DS, Whitmore AP, Goulding KWT (2011) Soil carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change: a critical re-examination to identify the true and the false. Eur J Soil Sci 62:42–55. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Prior SA, Torbert HA, Runion GB, Rogers HH, Ort DR, Nelson RL (2006) Free-air carbon dioxide enrichment of soybean. J Environ Qual 35:1470–1477. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Raiesi F (2006) Carbon and N mineralization as affected by soil cultivation and crop residue in calcareous wetland ecosystem in Central Iran. Agr Ecosyst Environ 112:13–20. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Six J, Conant R, Paul E, Paustian K (2002) Stabilization mechanisms of soil organic matter: implications for C-saturation. Plant Soil 241:155–176. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Smith P, Powlson DS, Smith JU, Falloon PD, Coleman K (2000) Meeting Europe’s climate change commitments: quantitative estimates of the potential for carbon mitigation in agriculture. Glob Change Biol 6:525–539. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Townsend TB, Roy J, Wilson P, Tucker GA, Sparkes DL (2017) Food and bioenergy: exploring ideotype traits of a dual-purpose wheat cultivar. Field crops research 201:210–221. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Triberti L, Nastri A, Giordani G, Comellini F, Baldoni G, Toderi G (2008) Can mineral and organic fertilization help sequestrate carbon dioxide in cropland? Eur J Agron 29:13–20. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Vigil MF, Kissel DE (1991) Equations for estimating the amount of nitrogen mineralized from crop residues. Soil Sci Soc Am J 55:757–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wang H, Wang L, Zhang Y, Hu Y, Wu J, Fu X, Le Y (2017) The variability and causes of organic carbon retention ability of different agricultural straw types returned to soil. Environ Technol 38:538–548. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Biología Animal, Biología Vegetal y Ecología and CEAOyAOUniversidad de JaénJaénSpain
  2. 2.Agro-ecosystems History LaboratoryUniversidad Pablo de OlavideSevilleSpain

Personalised recommendations