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Response of Soil, Water and Plants to Fertilization with Mineral and Organic Nitrogen Fertilizers

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  21st Century Watershed Technology: Improving Water Quality and Environment Conference Proceedings, 29 March - 3 April 2008, Concepcion, Chile  701P0208cd.(doi:10.13031/2013.24346)
Authors:   M Russo, R Iacona, E Verde, A Belligno, V I Sardo
Keywords:   NPS pollution, sustainable fertilization, nitrogen leaching, lettuce N fertilization, red chicory N fertilization, celery N fertilization, organic nitrogen

A research was conducted to assess pollution risk in dependence of mineral and organic nitrogen fertilizers application. The research was conducted in relatively large lysimeters (m 4,0 x 3,0) where three crop cycles (lettuce, red chicory and celery) were grown in succession during eighteen months. Four treatments were applied: mineral/organic fertilizer and 240/360 kg N per hectare, with three replications, in a total of 12 lysimeters plus a control in 3 lysimetres. Plants were drip irrigated and fertilizers were applied through fertigation. The evolution in nitrogen content was followed throughout the three crop cycles in soil, plants and drained water and approximately the same pattern was found: in soil and water N content was highest in the plots treated with the highest amount of mineral fertilizer but the difference was statistically significant only when compared to the control, while it was not significant when comparison was made among the four treatments. Fresh and dry matter yield was significantly higher in plants treated with the highest amount of mineral fertilizer; nitrogen, polyphenols, anthocyan and protein content in the edible part did not differ remarkably among the fertilized treatments, whereas N content in the roots was considerably higher in the plots treated with mineral nitrogen. From such results we can conclude that a correct fertilization management is more important than nitrogen source in the protection of the environment and that further research is needed to find out appropriate trade-offs between economic results and environmental protection.

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