Angiosperm Flora of India

Long-term fertilization and manuring effects on physically separated soil organic-matter pools under continuous wheat cropping at a rainfed semiarid site in China

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2012
Authors:E, SZhe, Li, XGang, Chen, ZMing, Li, XHang, Song, JRong, Guggenberger, G
Journal:Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science
Date Published:2012
ISBN Number:1522-2624
Keywords:aggregate-associated soil organic matter, combined particle-size and density soil fractionation, light soil organic matter, loess soil, macro–soil organic matter, mineral-associated soil organic matter

An essential prerequisite for a sustainable soil use is to maintain a satisfactory soil organic-matter (OM) level. This might be achieved by sound fertilization management, though impacts of fertilization on OM have been rarely investigated with the aid of physical fractionation techniques in semiarid regions. This study aimed at examining changes in organic C (OC) and N concentrations of physically separated soil OM pools after 26 y of fertilization at a site of the semiarid Loess Plateau in China. To separate sensitive OM pools, total macro-OM (> 0.05 mm) was obtained from bulk soil by wet-sieving and then separated into light macro-OM (< 1.8 g cm–3) and heavy macro-OM (> 1.8 g cm–3) subfractions; bulk soil was also differentiated into light OM (< 1.8 g cm–3) and mineral-associated OM (> 1.8 g cm–3). Farmyard manure increased concentrations of total macro-OC and N by 19% and 25%, and those of light fraction OC and N by 36% and 46%, compared to no manuring; both light OC and N concentrations but only total macro-OC concentration responded positively to mineral fertilizations compared to no mineral fertilization. This demonstrated that the light-fraction OM was more sensitive to organic or inorganic fertilization than the total macro-OM. Mineral-associated OC and N concentrations also increased by manuring or mineral fertilizations, indicating an increase of stable OM relative to no fertilization treatment, however, their shares on bulk soil OC and N decreased. Mineral fertilizations improved soil OM quality by decreasing C : N ratio in the light OM fraction whereas manuring led to a decline of the C : N ratio in the total macro-OM fraction, with respect to nil treatment. Further fractionation of the total macro-OM according to density clarified that across treatments about 3/4 of total macro-OM was associated with minerals. Thus, by simultaneously applying particle-size and density separation procedures, we clearly demonstrated that the macro-OM differed from the light OM fraction not only in its chemical composition but also in associations with minerals. The proportion of the 0.5–0.25 mm water-stable aggregates of soil was higher under organic or inorganic fertilizations than under no manure or no mineral fertilization, and increases in OC and N concentrations of water-stable aggregates as affected by fertilization were greater for 1–0.5 and 0.5–0.25 mm classes than for the other classes. Results indicate that OM stocks in different soil pools can be increased and the loose aggregation of these strongly eroded loess soils can be improved by organic or inorganic fertilization.

Short Title:Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science
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