Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Soil biota enhance agricultural sustainability by improving crop yield, nutrient uptake and reducing nitrogen leaching losses


Bender, S Franz; van der Heijden, Marcel G A (2015). Soil biota enhance agricultural sustainability by improving crop yield, nutrient uptake and reducing nitrogen leaching losses. Journal of Applied Ecology, 52(1):228-239.

Abstract

Efficient resource use is a key factor for sustainable production and a necessity for meeting future global food demands. However, the factors that control resource use efficiency in agro-ecosystems are only partly understood.
We investigated the influence of soil biota on nutrient leaching, nutrient-use efficiency and plant performance in outdoor, open-top lysimeters comprising a volume of 230 L. The lysimeters were filled with sterilized soil in two horizons and inoculated with a reduced soil-life inoculum (soil biota ≤11 μm, microbially dominated) and an enriched soil-life inoculum [soil organisms ≤2 mm, also containing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF)]. A crop rotation was planted, and nutrient leaching losses, plant biomass and nutrient contents were assessed over a period of almost 2 years.
In the first year of the experiment, enriched soil life increased crop yield (+22%), N uptake (+29%) and P uptake (+110%) of maize and strongly reduced leaching losses of N (−51%, corresponding to a reduction of 76 kg N ha−1). In the second year, wheat biomass (+17%) and P contents (+80%) were significantly increased by enriched soil life, but the differences were lower than in the first year.
Enriched soil life also increased P mobilization from soil (+112%) and significantly reduced relative P leaching losses (−25%), defined as g P leached per kg P plant uptake, as well as relative N leaching losses (−36%), defined as kg N leached per kg N plant uptake, demonstrating that nutrient-use efficiency was increased in the enriched soil-life treatment.
Synthesis and applications. Soil biota are a key factor determining resource efficiency in agriculture. The results suggest that applying farming practices, which favour a rich and abundant soil life (e.g. reduced tillage, organic farming, crop rotation), can reduce environmental impacts, enhance crop yield and result in a more sustainable agricultural system. However, this needs to be confirmed in field situations. Enhanced nutrient-use efficiency obtained through farming practices which exert positive effects on soil biota could result in reduced amounts of fertilisers needed for agricultural production and reduced nutrient losses to the environment, providing benefits of such practices beyond positive effects on biodiversity.

Abstract

Efficient resource use is a key factor for sustainable production and a necessity for meeting future global food demands. However, the factors that control resource use efficiency in agro-ecosystems are only partly understood.
We investigated the influence of soil biota on nutrient leaching, nutrient-use efficiency and plant performance in outdoor, open-top lysimeters comprising a volume of 230 L. The lysimeters were filled with sterilized soil in two horizons and inoculated with a reduced soil-life inoculum (soil biota ≤11 μm, microbially dominated) and an enriched soil-life inoculum [soil organisms ≤2 mm, also containing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF)]. A crop rotation was planted, and nutrient leaching losses, plant biomass and nutrient contents were assessed over a period of almost 2 years.
In the first year of the experiment, enriched soil life increased crop yield (+22%), N uptake (+29%) and P uptake (+110%) of maize and strongly reduced leaching losses of N (−51%, corresponding to a reduction of 76 kg N ha−1). In the second year, wheat biomass (+17%) and P contents (+80%) were significantly increased by enriched soil life, but the differences were lower than in the first year.
Enriched soil life also increased P mobilization from soil (+112%) and significantly reduced relative P leaching losses (−25%), defined as g P leached per kg P plant uptake, as well as relative N leaching losses (−36%), defined as kg N leached per kg N plant uptake, demonstrating that nutrient-use efficiency was increased in the enriched soil-life treatment.
Synthesis and applications. Soil biota are a key factor determining resource efficiency in agriculture. The results suggest that applying farming practices, which favour a rich and abundant soil life (e.g. reduced tillage, organic farming, crop rotation), can reduce environmental impacts, enhance crop yield and result in a more sustainable agricultural system. However, this needs to be confirmed in field situations. Enhanced nutrient-use efficiency obtained through farming practices which exert positive effects on soil biota could result in reduced amounts of fertilisers needed for agricultural production and reduced nutrient losses to the environment, providing benefits of such practices beyond positive effects on biodiversity.

Statistics

Citations

17 citations in Web of Science®
20 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:agro-ecosystem;arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi;crop rotation;lysimeters;maize;nutrient losses;nutrient-use efficiency;phosphorous;tillage;wheat
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:04 Feb 2015 09:13
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:47
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0021-8901
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12351

Download

Full text not available from this repository.
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations