Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 1441–1452 | Cite as

Fates of 15N-labeled fertilizer in a black soil-maize system and the response to straw incorporation in Northeast China

  • Zhi Quan
  • Shanlong Li
  • Feifei Zhu
  • Limei Zhang
  • Jizheng He
  • Wenxue Wei
  • Yunting Fang
Soils, Sec 2 • Global Change, Environ Risk Assess, Sustainable Land Use • Research Article
  • 131 Downloads

Abstract

Purpose

Over-fertilization has caused low nitrogen (N) use efficiency and N pollution in China. A better understanding of the fate of fertilizer N is critical for improved appropriate N management practices.

Materials and methods

We examined the fate of urea-N applied to a typical black soil-maize system and the response to straw incorporation in Northeast China using the field 15N labeling technique. Large plots (25 m2) were used to reduce artificial disturbance and facilitate multiple samplings in one growing season.

Results and discussion

We found that of the applied N (200 kg N ha−1), 52% was taken up by crops at harvest and 24% was retained in the soil (0–40 cm). The unrecovered 23% was likely lost via gases emission or leaching, which mainly occurred in the early days of maize cultivation. Fertilizer N contributions to the crop N uptake were 42% during vegetative growth and 30% during reproductive growth, which indirectly indicates that native soil N was the dominant N source for maize growth. However, high N uptake by maize resulted in low replenishment of fertilizer N to soil N. As a potential nutrient management approach, straw incorporation (2.4 t ha−1) stimulated N retention and reduced N loss, with 14% unrecovered fertilizer N.

Conclusions

To maintain long-term soil N supplies, straw incorporation could be a valid agronomic practice to prevent the degradation of black soil because of long-term N depletion during maize cultivation in Northeast China.

Keywords

15N labeling Mollisol Allocation Fertilizer-derived N Nitrogen use efficiency 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Dr. Hongguang Cai, Dr. Yang Wang, and Xuegong Yan in Jilin Academy of Agricultural Sciences for their help with field sampling. We also thank Xiaoming Fang, Meixia Gao, Linlin Song, and Ying Tu in Institute of Applied Ecology, CAS for their help with sample processing and laboratory analysis.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhi Quan
    • 1
  • Shanlong Li
    • 1
  • Feifei Zhu
    • 1
  • Limei Zhang
    • 2
  • Jizheng He
    • 2
  • Wenxue Wei
    • 3
  • Yunting Fang
    • 1
  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Management, Institute of Applied EcologyChinese Academy of SciencesShenyangChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Centre for Eco-environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.CAS Key Laboratory of Agro-ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Institute of Subtropical AgricultureChinese Academy of SciencesChangshaChina

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