Effects of long-term inorganic and organic fertilizations on the soil micro and macro structures of rice paddies

Zhou, Hu and Fang, Huan and Mooney, Sacha Jon and Peng, Xinhua (2016) Effects of long-term inorganic and organic fertilizations on the soil micro and macro structures of rice paddies. Geoderma, 266 . pp. 66-74. ISSN 1872-6259

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Abstract

The soil structure of paddy soil is very dynamic from the aggregate to the pedon scale because of intensive anthropogenic management strategies. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that long-term inorganic and organic fertilizations can affect soil structure at different scales. Microstructure assessed by soil aggregates (3–5 mm in diameter) and macrostructure assessed by small soil cores (CoreS) (5 cm in diameter, 5 cm in height) and large soil cores (CoreL) (10 cm in diameter, 10 cm in height) were sampled from three long-term fertilization treatments, including no fertilizer (CK), application of inorganic fertilizer (NPK), and a combination of inorganic fertilizer and organic manure (NPKOM), established in 1982. They were scanned at two scales with two types of micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) and quantified using image analysis. Results showed that relative to CK treatment, long-term NPKOM fertilization increased soil organic C (SOC) by 28% and available water content (AWC) by 20%, but decreased soil bulk density by 0.2 g cm− 3 whereas NPK showed no difference. Soils under CK and NPK treatments exhibited an identical dense structure at both aggregate and core scales in which pores were mainly cracks resulting from shrink/swell processes, and showed no significant difference in porosity and size distribution of the CT-identified pores (> 3.7 μm). Compared with the CK treatment, the soil in the NPKOM treatment had greater intra- and inter-aggregate pores, and increased porosity by 58.3%, 144.9%, and 65.9% at aggregate, CoreS, and CoreL scales, respectively. These were attributed to the biopores formed from decayed roots, stubble, and organic manures as a result of increased yields and direct amendment of organic manure. Overall, this study demonstrates that organic fertilization can improve the physical qualities of paddy soils across different scales but inorganic fertilization in isolation does not.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Paddy soil; Soil structure; Aggregate; Pore; Micro-CT; Fertilization
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Biosciences > Division of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2015.12.007
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2017 14:18
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 01:33
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/41202

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