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. 2014 Aug 13;9(8):e105039.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105039. eCollection 2014.

Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Fractions and Crop Yields Affected by Residue Placement and Crop Types

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Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Fractions and Crop Yields Affected by Residue Placement and Crop Types

Jun Wang et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Soil labile C and N fractions can change rapidly in response to management practices compared to non-labile fractions. High variability in soil properties in the field, however, results in nonresponse to management practices on these parameters. We evaluated the effects of residue placement (surface application [or simulated no-tillage] and incorporation into the soil [or simulated conventional tillage]) and crop types (spring wheat [Triticum aestivum L.], pea [Pisum sativum L.], and fallow) on crop yields and soil C and N fractions at the 0-20 cm depth within a crop growing season in the greenhouse and the field. Soil C and N fractions were soil organic C (SOC), total N (STN), particulate organic C and N (POC and PON), microbial biomass C and N (MBC and MBN), potential C and N mineralization (PCM and PNM), NH4-N, and NO3-N concentrations. Yields of both wheat and pea varied with residue placement in the greenhouse as well as in the field. In the greenhouse, SOC, PCM, STN, MBN, and NH4-N concentrations were greater in surface placement than incorporation of residue and greater under wheat than pea or fallow. In the field, MBN and NH4-N concentrations were greater in no-tillage than conventional tillage, but the trend reversed for NO3-N. The PNM was greater under pea or fallow than wheat in the greenhouse and the field. Average SOC, POC, MBC, PON, PNM, MBN, and NO3-N concentrations across treatments were higher, but STN, PCM and NH4-N concentrations were lower in the greenhouse than the field. The coefficient of variation for soil parameters ranged from 2.6 to 15.9% in the greenhouse and 8.0 to 36.7% in the field. Although crop yields varied, most soil C and N fractions were greater in surface placement than incorporation of residue and greater under wheat than pea or fallow in the greenhouse than the field within a crop growing season. Short-term management effect on soil C and N fractions were readily obtained with reduced variability under controlled soil and environmental conditions in the greenhouse compared to the field. Changes occurred more in soil labile than non-labile C and N fractions in the greenhouse than the field.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The coauthor, Upendra M. Sainju, is a PLOS ONE Editorial Board member. This does not alter the authors' adherence to PLOS ONE Editorial policies and criteria.

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Grant support

Funding came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Sidney, MT, USA and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31270484). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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