Plant and Soil

, Volume 263, Issue 1, pp 191–201 | Cite as

Recovery of fertilizer-derived inorganic-15N in a vegetable field soil as affected by application of an organic amendment

  • Woo-Jung Choi
  • Hee-Myong Ro
  • Scott X. Chang


To examine the effect of organic amendment application on the fate of inorganic-N accumulated in a vegetable field soil during conversion from inorganic to organic input, a pot experiment using 15N-labeled soil was conducted. The soil was labeled with 15N through addition of urea-15N (98 atom % 15N) and was then incubated for 1 year resulting in inorganic soil-N concentration and 15N abundance of 211 mg kg−1 soil and 4.950 atom %, respectively. Chinese cabbage [Brassica campestris (L.) Samjin] plants were grown in the labeled soil for 30 and 60 days after application of organic amendment at the rates of 0 (control), 200, 400, and 600 mg N kg−1 soil. Although organic amendment application did not show any significant effect on the uptake efficiency of inorganic-N by Chinese cabbage during the first 30 days, it significantly (P<0.05) increased inorganic-N uptake efficiency as well as total-N uptake and dry matter yield at the end of the 60-day growth period. Application of the organic amendment also increased microbial immobilization of inorganic-N in both growth periods. Between 30 and 60 days of growth, however, the amount of immobilized N from the inorganic-15N pool decreased, indicating re-mineralization of previously immobilized N. Although the amount of inorganic-15N lost was virtually the same among treatments at day 30, increased immobilization of inorganic-15N caused by organic amendment application led to the higher retention of inorganic-N in the soil and less loss of N at day 60 as compared to the control. These results indicate that increased immobilization by organic amendment application in the early growth season and the subsequent gradual re-mineralization may play an important role in increasing plant uptake of inorganic-15N, while minimizing N loss.

immobilization-mineralization inorganic-N N loss 15N recovery organic amendment vegetable field soil 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Benitez C, Bellido E, Gonzalez J L and Medina M 1998 Influence of pedological and climatic factors on nitrogen mineralization in soils treated with pig slurry compost. Bioresour. Technol. 63, 147–151.Google Scholar
  2. Blankenau K, Olfs H-W and Kuhlmann H 2000 Effect of microbial nitrogen immobilization during the growth period on the availability of nitrogen fertilizer for winter cereals. Biol. Fertil. Soils 32, 157–165.Google Scholar
  3. Bronson K F, Hussain F, Pasuquin E and Ladha J K 2000 Use of 15 N-labeled soil in measuring nitrogen fertilizer recovery efficiency in transplanted rice. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 64, 235–239.Google Scholar
  4. Burger M and Jackson L E 2003 Microbial immobilization of ammonium and nitrate in relation to ammonification and nitrification rates in organic and conventional cropping systems. Soil Biol. Biochem. 35, 29–36.Google Scholar
  5. Choi W J and Ro H M 2003 Differences in isotopic fractionation of nitrogen in water-saturated and unsaturated soils. Soil Biol. Biochem. 35, 483–486.Google Scholar
  6. Choi, W J, Jin S A, Lee S M, Ro H M and Yoo S H 2001 Corn uptake and microbial immobilization of 15 N-labeled urea-N in soil as affected by composted pig manure. Plant Soil 235, 1–9.Google Scholar
  7. Choi W J, Ro H M and Hobbie E A 2003 Patterns of natural 15 N in soils and plants from chemically and organically fertilized uplands. Soil Biol. Biochem. 35, 1493–1500.Google Scholar
  8. Eghball B and Power J F 1999 Phosphorus-and nitrogen-based manure and compost applications: Maize production and soil phosphorus. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 63, 895–901.Google Scholar
  9. Fauci M F and Dick R P 1994 Soil microbial dynamics: short-and long-term effects of inorganic and organic nitrogen. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 58, 801–806.Google Scholar
  10. Fließbach A and Mäder P 2000 Microbial biomass and size-density fractions differ between soils of organic and conventional agricultural systems. Soil Biol. Biochem. 32, 757–768.Google Scholar
  11. Fraser D G, Doran J W, Sachs W W and Lesoing G W 1988 Soil microbial populations and activities under conventional and organic management. J. Environ. Qual. 17, 585–590.Google Scholar
  12. Greenwood D J, Rahn C, Draycott A, Vaidyanathan L V and Paterson C 1996 Modelling and measurement of the effects of fertilizer-N and crop residue incorporation on N-dynamics in vegetable cropping. Soil Use Manage. 12, 13–24.Google Scholar
  13. Hadas A, Kautsky L and Portnoy R 1996 Mineralization of composted manure and microbial dynamics in soil as affected by long-term nitrogen management. Soil Biol. Biochem. 28, 733–738.Google Scholar
  14. Hansen B, Alrøe H F and Kristensen E S 2001 Approaches to assess the environmental impact of organic farming with particular regard to Denmark. Agric. Ecosys. Environ. 83, 11–26.Google Scholar
  15. Hansen S 1996 Effects of manure treatment and soil compaction on plant production of a dairy farm system converting to organic farming practice. Agric. Ecosys. Environ. 56, 173–186.Google Scholar
  16. Hauck R D 1982 Nitrogen-isotope ratio analysis. In Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 2: Chemical and Microbiological Properties. <nt>Eds.</nt> A L Page et al. pp. 735–779, ASA and SSSA, Madison and Wisconsin.Google Scholar
  17. Hauck R D and Bremner J M 1976 Use of tracers for soil fertilizer nitrogen research. Adv. Agron. 28, 219–266.Google Scholar
  18. Keeney D R and Nelson D W 1982 Nitrogen-inorganic forms. In Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 2: Chemical and Microbiological Properties. <nt>Eds.</nt> A L Page et al. pp. 643–698, ASA and SSSA, Madison and Wisconsin.Google Scholar
  19. Kirchmann H and Bergström L 2001 Do organic farming practices reduce nitrate leaching? Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 32, 997–1028.Google Scholar
  20. Kirchmann H and Thorvaldsson G. 2000 Challenging targets for future agriculture. Eur. J. Agron. 12, 145–161.Google Scholar
  21. Kramer A W, Doane T A, Horwath W R and van Kessel C 2002 Short-term nitrogen-15 recovery vs. long-term total soil N gains in conventional and alternative cropping systems. Soil Biol. Biochem. 34, 43–50.Google Scholar
  22. Kristensen H L, McCarty G W and Meisinger J J 2000 Effects of soil structure disturbance on mineralization of organic soil nitrogen. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 64, 371–378.Google Scholar
  23. Li X, Inubushi K and Sakamoto K 2002 Nitrous oxide concentrations in an Andisol profile and emission to the atmosphere as influenced by the application of nitrogen fertilizers and manure. Biol. Fertil. Soils 35, 108–113.Google Scholar
  24. Nadelhoffer K J, Downs M R, Fry B, Aber J D, Magill A H and Melillo J M 1995 The fate of 15 N-labelled nitrate additions to a northern hardwood forest in eastern Maine, USA. Oecologia 103, 292–301.Google Scholar
  25. Neeteson J J 1995 Nitrogen Fertilization in the Environment. Marcel Dekker, New York. pp 295–325.Google Scholar
  26. Nommik H and Larsson K 1989 Assessment of fertilizer nitrogen accumulation in Pinus sylvestris trees and retention in soil by 15 N recovery technique. Scand. J. For. Res. 4, 427–442.Google Scholar
  27. Okereke G U and Meints V W 1985 Immediate immobilization of labeled ammonium sulfate and urea nitrogen in soils. Soil Sci. 140, 105–109.Google Scholar
  28. Olayinka A 2001 Effect of co-applied cowdung and inorganic nitrogen on microbial respiration in soil under laboratory conditions. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 32, 3229–3242.Google Scholar
  29. Poudel D D, Horwath W R, Mitchell J R and Temple S R 2001 Impacts of cropping systems on soil nitrogen storage and loss. Agric. Syst. 68, 253–268.Google Scholar
  30. Poudel D D, Horwath W R, Lanini W T, Temple S R and van Bruggen A H C 2002 Comparison of soil N availability and leaching potential, crop yields and weeds in organic, low-input and conventional farming systems in northern California. Agric. Ecosys. Environ. 90: 125–137.Google Scholar
  31. Shearer G and Kohl D H 1992 Natural abundance of 15 N: Fractional contribution of two sources to a common sink and use of isotope discrimination. In Nitrogen Isotope Technique. <nt>Eds.</nt> R Knowles and T H Blackburn. pp. 89–125. Academic Press Inc., California.Google Scholar
  32. Shrestha R K and Ladha J K 1996 Genotypic variation in promotion of rice dinitrogen fixation as determined by nitrogen-15 dilution. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 60, 1815–1821.Google Scholar
  33. Sikora L J and Enkiri N K 2001 Uptake of 15 N fertilizer in compost-amended soils. Plant Soil 235, 65–73.Google Scholar
  34. Song Y S, Kwak H K, Huh B L and Lee S E 1996 Use efficiency of nitrate nitrogen accumulated in plastic film house soils under continuous vegetable cultivation. Korean J. Soil Sci. Fert. 29, 347–352.Google Scholar
  35. SPSS Inc. 2002 SPSS 11.5 Brief Guide. SPSS Inc., Chicago.Google Scholar
  36. Stamatiadis S, Werner M and Buchanan M 1999 Field assessment of soil quality as affected by compost and fertilizer application in a broccoli field (San Benito County, California). Appl. Soil Ecol. 12, 217–225.Google Scholar
  37. Tester C F 1990 Organic amendment effects on physical and chemical properties of a sandy soil. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 54, 827–831.Google Scholar
  38. Westerman R L and Kurtz L T 1974 Isotopic and nonisotopic estimation of fertilizer nitrogen uptake by sudangrass in field experiment. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. Proc. 38, 107–109.Google Scholar
  39. Whalen J K, Chang C and Olson B M 2001 Nitrogen and phosphorus mineralization potentials of soils receiving repeated annual cattle manure applications. Biol. Fertil. Soils 34, 334–341.Google Scholar
  40. Willson T C, Paul E A and Harwood R R 2001 Biologically active soil organic matter fractions in sustainable cropping systems. Appl. Soil Ecol. 16, 63–76.Google Scholar
  41. Woodbury I L 1992 Applying compost to crops. Biocycle 32, 70–72.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Woo-Jung Choi
    • 1
  • Hee-Myong Ro
    • 2
  • Scott X. Chang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Renewable ResourcesUniversity of AlbertaAlbertaCanada
  2. 2.School of Agricultural Biotechnology, College of Agriculture and Life SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea

Personalised recommendations