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Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 2, Issue 1–2, pp 113–119 | Cite as

Gross mineralization and plant N uptake from animal manures under non-N limiting conditions, measured using 15N isotope dilution techniques

  • Rebecca Hood
  • Elvira Bautista
  • Maria Heiling
Article

Abstract

To utilise wisely the manure resource, a better understanding of the processes that control the breakdown of organic N to inorganic N (mineralization) is required. 15N isotope dilution techniques should allow estimates of plant N uptake and gross mineralization from organic manures under non-N limiting conditions to be made. In natural systems the study of organic nitrogen breakdown to inorganic nitrogen, mineralization, is confounded by the processes of nitrification, nitrate leaching, gaseous N losses and plant N uptake. The 15N isotope dilution approach allows measurement of gross mineralization independently of these processes. Greenhouse experiments were conducted to determine plant N uptake from organic manures under non-N limiting conditions using the soil pre-labelling isotope dilution approach. The soil was pre-labelled with 15N and maize plants were then grown on the control treatments (no organic amendment) or on the manure treatments. The principle is thus that the control crop has a 15N abundance which reflects the 15N status of the soil and the treatment crop has a 15N enrichment diluted by the contribution of mineralized unlabelled manure N. Using this technique, it was estimated that maize plants derived 17 and 34% of their N from sewage sludge and turkey manure, respectively. The soil pre-labelling isotope dilution approach allowed yield-independent estimation of nitrogen derived from manures under non-N limiting conditions. Estimates of gross N mineralization were made to determine the breakdown of manure under field conditions. Results suggested that there was a rapid mineralization of turkey manure N in the initial weeks after application, in the order of 50 kg N ha−1, which tailed off in the following weeks. The technique suggested that the soil used in the study had an extremely low basal mineralization rate, and a high nitrification rate.

gross mineralization pre-labelling manure 15

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology LaboratorySoil Science UnitSeibersdorfAustria
  2. 2.Soil Research Division, SRDC Bldg.Bureau of Soils and Water ManagementQuezon CityPhilippines

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