Non-additive responses of soil C and N to rice straw and hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth L.) mixtures in a paddy soil

  • Guopeng Zhou
  • Weidong Cao
  • Jinshun Bai
  • Changxu Xu
  • Naohua Zeng
  • Songjuan Gao
  • Robert M. Rees
Regular Article



We studied the effects of mixing rice straw and hairy vetch plant residues in a subtropical paddy soil, on subsequent carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics.


Using a theoretical framework, we designed two groups of experiments (involving equal amounts of residual C or N addition, referred to as either C or N treatments). Each experiment included mixed residues of rice straw and hairy vetch at different mixing ratios. Soils together with residues were incubated at 25 °C under waterlogged conditions for 100 days. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and soil C and N fractions were measured continuously.


Both C and N treatments affected soil C and N dynamics, and these dynamics were quantitatively dependent on residue C/N ratios. The effect of residue mixtures on C and N dynamics could not be predicted from single residues, since there were non-additive effects of residue mixtures. Synergistic effects were generally more frequent than antagonistic effects. Residue mixtures tended to enhance CO2 and CH4 emissions in both C and N treatments but decreased N2O emissions in the N treatment. In the N treatment, dissolved organic C (DOC), dissolved organic N (DON), and microbial biomass C (MBC) concentrations increased. DOC and DON concentrations decreased in the C treatment. Residue mixtures enhanced the global warming potentials (GWP) of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted from soil by non-additive synergistic effects. The C/N ratio of residue mixtures affected the non-additive responses of soil C and N dynamics, for example mixtures with a C/N ratio of 25 had higher CO2 emissions and DOC concentrations than those with a C/N ratio of 35 as a consequence of non-additive effects, however, CH4 emissions and MBC concentrations were higher in mixtures with a C/N ratio of 35 than in mixtures with a C/N ration of 25.


These results indicated that non-additive effects can impact soil C and N dynamics and that residue C/N ratios play an important role in influencing non-additive effects. Applying a single residue to paddy soils may be better than residue mixtures from a GWP mitigation perspective.


Residue mixtures C/N ratio Soil C and N dynamics Non-additive response Paddy soil 



This work was supported by China’s Agriculture Research System - Green Manure; the Virtual Joint Nitrogen Centre (N-Circle; Grant number BB/N013484/1); Science and Technology Innovation Project of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (2013-2017); and Chinese Outstanding Talents Program in Agricultural Science. We wish to thank Dr. Fugen Dou for the revising this manuscript.

Supplementary material

11104_2018_3926_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guopeng Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Weidong Cao
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jinshun Bai
    • 1
  • Changxu Xu
    • 4
  • Naohua Zeng
    • 1
  • Songjuan Gao
    • 3
  • Robert M. Rees
    • 5
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and Fertilizer, Ministry of Agriculture / Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional PlanningChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.The Graduate SchoolChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of Resources and Environmental SciencesNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Institute of Soil&Fertilizer and Resource&EnvironmentJiangxi Academy of Agricultural SciencesNanchangPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)EdinburghUK

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