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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - SOIL FERTILITY & PLANT NUTRITION

Multiseason Recoveries of Organic and Inorganic Nitrogen-15 in Tropical Cropping Systems


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 74 No. 1, p. 139-152
    Received: May 15, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): cvankessel@ucdavis.edu
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  1. D. Dourado-Netoa,
  2. D. Powlsonb,
  3. R. Abu Bakarc,
  4. O. O. S. Bacchid,
  5. M.V. Basantaa,
  6. P. thi Conge,
  7. G. Keerthisinghef,
  8. M. Ismailig,
  9. S. M. Rahmanh,
  10. K. Reichardtd,
  11. M. S. A. Safwati,
  12. R. Sangakkaraj,
  13. L. C. Timmk,
  14. J. Y. Wangl,
  15. E. Zagalm and
  16. C. van Kessel *n
  1. a Crop Production Department, ESALQ/USP, C.P. 9, 13418-970, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil
    b Soil Science Department, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 2JQ, UK
    c Universiti Putra Malaysia, Department of Soil Science, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
    d Soil Physics Lab., CENA/USP, C.P. 96, 13416-000, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil
    e Institute of Agricultural Sciences of Southern Vietnam, Hochiminh City, Vietnam
    f Joint FAO/IAEA, P.O. Box 100, A-100 Vienna, Austria
    g Faculty des Sciences, Dep. des Biologie, Univ. Moulay Ismail, B.P. 4010, Beni M'Hamed, Meknes, Morocco
    h Soil Science Division, Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture, P.O. Box 4, Mymensigh 2200, Bangladesh
    i Dep. of Agricultural Microbiology, Faculty of Agriculture, Minia Univ., El-Minia, Egypt
    j Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Univ. of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
    k Rural Engineering Department, UFPel,C.P.354, 96001-970 Capao do Leao, RS, Brazil
    l Institute of Environmental Resources and Soil Fertilizer, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, People's Republic of China
    m Facultad de Agronomia, Department de Suelos, Universidad de Concepcion, Chillan, Chile
    n Dep. of Plant Sciences, Univ. of California, Davis, CA 95616


In tropical agroecosystems, limited N availability remains a major impediment to increasing yield. A 15N-recovery experiment was conducted in 13 diverse tropical agroecosystems. The objectives were to determine the total recovery of one single 15N application of inorganic or organic N during three to six growing seasons and to establish whether the losses of N are governed by universal principles. Between 7 and 58% (average of 21%) of crop N uptake during the first growing season was derived from fertilizer. On average, 79% of crop N was derived from the soil. When 15N-labeled residues were applied, in the first growing season 4% of crop N was derived from the residues. Average recoveries of 15N-labeled fertilizer and residue in crops after the first growing season were 33 and 7%, respectively. Corresponding recoveries in the soil were 38 and 71%. An additional 6% of the fertilizer and 9.1% of the residue was recovered by crops during subsequent growing seasons. There were no significant differences in total 15N recovery (average 54%) between N from fertilizer and N from residue. After five growing seasons, more residue N (40%) than fertilizer N (18%) was recovered in the soil, better sustaining the soil organic matter N content. Long-term total recoveries of 15N-labeled fertilizer or residue in the crop and soil were similar. Soil N remained the primary source of N for crops. As higher rainfall and temperature tend to cause higher 15N losses, management practices to improve N use efficiency and reduce losses in wet tropical regions will remain a challenge.

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