Effects of Different Fertilization and Fallowing Practices on Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Mineralization in a Dryland Soil with Low Organic Matter

  • Xiang Zhang
  • Hui Wang
  • Xiaoli Hui
  • Zhaohui Wang
  • Jinshan LiuEmail author
Research Article


Soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) mineralization plays an important role in crop growth and nutrition cycling. Based on a 10-year field experiment, an aerobic incubation experiment (105 days) was conducted to determine soil mineralized C and mineralized N at two depths (0–20 and 20–40 cm) under four cropping treatments (winter wheat with no fertilizer (Ctr), N fertilizer (N), phosphorus fertilizer (P), and N and P fertilizers (NP)) and two fallowing treatments (natural-F and bare-F). Results showed that compared with Ctr, N and NP significantly increased the wheat grain and straw yield. N, NP, and natural-F significantly increased the soil organic N concentration by 10.4%, 15.2%, and 22.0%, respectively, at 0–20-cm soil depth, and the natural-F significantly increased the soil organic C concentration by 16.8%. Additionally, bare-F led to lower soil organic N at the two soil depths and soil organic C at 0–20-cm depth when compared with NP and natural-F. The highest net mineralized N and C were observed in soils with the highest organic N and C contents (i.e., natural-F). Meanwhile, the lowest net mineralized N and C were observed in the treatments with the lowest soil organic N and C contents (i.e., bare-F). Therefore, in the Loess Plateau, the management of NP application is critical for increasing grain yield, maintaining soil C and N levels and supplying adequate N to the plants. By contrast, the application of N alone, P alone, or bare fallow is not a useful method for maintaining soil fertility.


Wheat cultivation Mineralization Soil organic carbon Soil organic nitrogen Loess Plateau 


Funding Information

This research was supported jointly by grants from the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFD0200401), National Natural Science Foundation of China (41501308), Chinese National Key Technology R&D Program  (2015BAD23B04), and Chinese Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201503124).


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Copyright information

© Sociedad Chilena de la Ciencia del Suelo 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiang Zhang
    • 1
  • Hui Wang
    • 1
  • Xiaoli Hui
    • 1
  • Zhaohui Wang
    • 1
  • Jinshan Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and Agro-environment in Northwest China, Ministry of Agriculture/College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina

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