Please wait a minute...
Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2016, Vol. 15 Issue (05): 1121-1131    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(15)61158-3
Soil & Fertilization﹒Irrigation﹒Plant Nutrition﹒ Agro-Ecology & Environment Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Irrigation water salinity and N fertilization: Effects on ammonia oxidizer abundance, enzyme activity and cotton growth in a drip irrigated cotton fild
MIN Wei, GUO Hui-juan, ZHANG Wen, ZHOU Guang-wei, MA Li-juan, YE Jun, HOU Zhen-an
Department of Resources and Environmental Science, Shihezi University, Shihezi 832003, P.R.China
Download:  PDF in ScienceDirect  
Export:  BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      
Abstract     Use of saline water in irrigated agriculture has become an important means for alleviating water scarcity in arid and semi-arid regions. The objective of this field experiment was to evaluate the effects of irrigation water salinity and N fertilization on soil physicochemical and biological properties related to nitrification and denitrification. A 3×2 factorial design was used with three levels of irrigation water salinity (0.35, 4.61 and 8.04 dS m–1) and two N rates (0 and 360 kg N ha–1). The results indicated that irrigation water salinity and N fertilization had significant effects on many soil physicochemical properties including water content, salinity, pH, NH4-N concentration, and NO3-N concentration. The abundance (i.e., gene copy number) of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) was greater than that of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) in all treatments. Irrigation water salinity had no significant effect on the abundance of AOA or AOB in unfertilized plots. However, saline irrigation water (i.e., the 4.61 and 8.04 dS m–1 treatments) reduced AOA abundance, AOB abundance and potential nitrification rate in N fertilized plots. Regardless of N application rate, saline irrigation water increased urease activity but reduced the activities of both nitrate reductase and nitrite reductase. Irrigation with saline irrigation water significantly reduced cotton biomass, N uptake and yield. Nitrogen application exacerbated the negative effect of saline water. These results suggest that brackish water and saline water irrigation could significantly reduce both the abundance of ammonia oxidizers and potential nitrification rates. The AOA may play a more important role than AOB in nitrification in desert soil.
Keywords:  saline water        nitrogen fertilizer        ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms        enzyme activity        cotton yield  
Received: 10 April 2015   Accepted:

This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31360504) and the Innovative Research Foundation for Excellent Young Scientists of Xinjiang Production and Construction Crops, China (2014CD002).

Corresponding Authors:  HOU Zhen-an, Tel: +86-993-2058076, E-mail:   

Cite this article: 

MIN Wei, GUO Hui-juan, ZHANG Wen, ZHOU Guang-wei, MA Li-juan, YE Jun, HOU Zhen-an. 2016. Irrigation water salinity and N fertilization: Effects on ammonia oxidizer abundance, enzyme activity and cotton growth in a drip irrigated cotton fild. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 15(05): 1121-1131.

Adair K L, Schwartz E. 2008. Evidence that ammonia-oxidizing archaea are more abundant than ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in semiarid soils of northern Arizona, USA. Microbial Ecology, 56, 420–426.

Ahmad R, Jabeen N. 2009. Demonstration of growth improvement in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) by the use of organic fertilizers under saline conditions. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 41, 1373–1384.

Ai C, Liang G, Sun J, Wang X, He P, Zhou W. 2013. Different roles of rhizosphere effect and long-term fertilization in the activity and community structure of ammonia oxidizers in a calcareous fluvo-aquic soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 57, 30–42.

Akhtar M, Hussain F, Ashraf M Y, Qureshi T M, Akhter J, Awan A R. 2012. Influence of salinity on nitrogen transformations in soil. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 43, 1674–1683.

Aslam M, Qureshi R H. 1998. Fertilizer management in salt affected soils for high productivity. In: Ahmed N, Hammed A, eds., Proceedings of the Symposium on Plant Nutrition for Sustainable Plant Growth. NFDC, Islamabad, Pakistan. pp. 89–109.

Bastien P, Procop G W, Reischl U. 2008. Quantitative real-time PCR is not more sensitive than “conventional” PCR. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 46, 1897–1900.

Bernhard A E, Bollmann A. 2010. Estuarine nitrifiers: New players, patterns and processes. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf science, 88, 1–11.

Bernhard A E, Tucker J, Giblin A E, Stahl D A. 2007. Functionally distinct communities of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria along an estuarine salinity gradient. Environmental Microbiology, 9, 1439–1447.

Caffrey J M, Bano N, Kalanetra K, Hollibaugh J T. 2007. Ammonia oxidation and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea from estuaries with differing histories of hypoxia. The ISME Journal, 1, 660–662.

Charette M A, Buesseler K O. 2004. Submarine groundwater discharge of nutrients and copper to an urban subestuary of Chesapeake Bay (Elizabeth River). Limnology and Oceanography, 49, 376–385.

Chen W, Hou Z, Wu L, Liang Y, Wei C. 2010a. Effects of salinity and nitrogen on cotton growth in arid environment. Plant and Soil, 326, 61–73.

Chen W, Hou Z, Wu L, Liang Y, Wei C. 2010b. Evaluating salinity distribution in soil irrigated with saline water in arid regions of northwest China. Agricultural Water Management, 97, 2001–2008.

Chen Y, Xu Z, Hu H, Hu Y, Hao Z, Jiang Y, Chen B. 2013. Responses of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea to nitrogen fertilization and precipitation increment in a typical temperate steppe in Inner Mongolia. Applied Soil Ecology, 68, 36–45.

Enwall K, Philippot L, Hallin S. 2005. Activity and composition of the denitrifying bacterial community respond differently to long-term fertilization. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71, 8335–8343.

Feikema P M, Morris J D, Connell L D. 2010. The water balance and water sources of a Eucalyptus plantation over shallow saline groundwater. Plant and Soil, 332, 429–449.

Francis C A, Roberts K J, Beman J M, Santoro A E, Oakley B B. 2005. Ubiquity and diversity of ammonia-oxidizing archaea in water columns and sediments of the ocean. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102, 14683–14688.

Garcia C, Hernandez T. 1996. Influence of salinity on the biological and biochemical activity of a calciorthird soil. Plant and Soil, 178, 255–263.

Grattan S R, Grieve C M. 1992. Mineral element acquisition and growth response of plants grown in saline environments. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 38, 275–300.

Guan S Y. 1986. Soil Enzymes and Their Research Methods. Agricultural Press, Beijing. pp. 273–339. (in Chinese)

Gubry-Rangin C, Hai B, Quince C, Engel M, Thomson B C, James P, Schloter M, Griffithsd R, Prosser J, Nicol G W. 2011. Niche specialization of terrestrial archaeal ammonia oxidizers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108, 21206–21211.

He J Z, Shen J P, Zhang L M, Zhu Y G, Zheng Y M, Xu M G, Di H. 2007. Quantitative analyses of the abundance and composition of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and ammonia-oxidizing archaea of a Chinese upland red soil under long-term fertilization practices. Environmental Microbiology, 9, 2364–2374.

Heilman P. 1975. Effect of added salts on nitrogen release and nitrate levels in forest soils of the Washington coastal area. Soil Science Soceity of America Journal, 39, 778–782.

Herrmann M, Scheibe A, Avrahami S, Kusel K. 2011. Ammonium availability affects the ratio between ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and ammonia-oxidizing archaea in simulated creek ecosystems. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 77, 1896–1899.

Höfferle Š, Nicol G W, Pal L, Hacin J, Prosser J I, Mandi?-Mulec I. 2010. Ammonium supply rate influences archaeal and bacterial ammonia oxidizers in a wetland soil vertical profile. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 74, 302–315.

Hou Z A, Chen W P, Xiao L, Lin X, Wu L S. 2009. Effects of salinity and fertigation practice on cotton yield and 15N recovery. Agricultural Water Management, 96, 1483–1489.

Irshad M, Honna T, Yamamoto S, Eneji A E, Yamasaki N. 2005. Nitrogen mineralization under saline conditions. Communications in Soil science and Plant Analysis, 36, 1681–1689.

Jia Z, Conrad R. 2009. Bacteria rather than archaea dominate microbial ammonia oxidation in an agricultural soil. Environmental Microbiology, 11, 1658–1671.

Jin T, Zhang T, Ye, L, Lee O O, Wong Y H, Qian P Y. 2011. Diversity and quantity of ammonia-oxidizing Archaea and Bacteria in sediment of the Pearl River Estuary, China. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 90, 1137–1145.

Kang Y, Chen M, Wan S. 2010. Effects of drip irrigation with saline water on waxy maize (Zea mays L. var. ceratina Kulesh) in North China Plain. Agricultural Water Management, 97, 1303–1309.

Keshri J, Mishra A, Jha B. 2013. Microbial population index and community structure in saline-alkaline soil using gene targeted metagenomics. Microbiological Research, 168, 165–173.

Kurola J, Salkinoja-Salonen M, Aarnio T, Hultman J, Romantschuk M. 2005. Activity, diversity and population size of ammonia-oxidising bacteria in oil-contaminated landfarming soil. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 250, 33–38.

Leininger S, Urich T, Schloter M, Schwark L, Qi J, Nicol G W, Schleper C. 2006. Archaea predominate among ammonia-oxidizing prokaryotes in soils. Nature, 442, 806–809.

Li X R, Xiao Y P, Ren W W, Liu Z F, Shi J H, Quan Z X. 2012. Abundance and composition of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea in different types of soil in the Yangtze River estuary. Journal of Zhejiang University (Science B), 13, 769–782.

Malash N M, Flowers T J, Ragab R. 2008. Effect of irrigation methods, management and salinity of irrigation water on tomato yield, soil moisture and salinity distribution. Irrigation Science, 26, 313–323.

McClung G, Frankenberger W T. 1985. Soil nitrogen transformations as affected by salinity. Soil Science, 139, 405–411.

Min W, Hou Z, Ma L, Zhang W, Ru S, Ye J. 2014. Effects of water salinity and N application rate on water-and N-use efficiency of cotton under drip irrigation. Journal of Arid Land, 6, 454–467.

Mosier A C, Francis C A. 2008. Relative abundance and diversity of ammonia-oxidizing archaea and bacteria in the San Francisco Bay estuary. Environmental Microbiology, 10, 3002–3016.

Munns R, Tester M. 2008. Mechanisms of salinity tolerance. Annual Review of Plant Biology, 59, 651–681.

Offre P, Prosser J I, Nicol G W. 2009. Growth of ammonia-oxidizing archaea in soil microcosms is inhibited by acetylene. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 70, 99–108.

Okano Y, Hristova K R, Leutenegger C M, Jackson L E, Denison R F, Gebreyesus B, Lebauer D, Scow K M. 2004. Application of real-time PCR to study effects of ammonium on population size of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in soil. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 70, 1008–1016.

Oren A. 1999. Bioenergentic aspect of halophylism. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, 63, 334–348.

Pang H C, Li Y Y, Yang J S, Liang Y S. 2010. Effect of brackish water irrigation and straw mulching on soil salinity and crop yields under monsoonal climatic conditions. Agricultural Water Management, 97, 1971–1977.

Reigstad L J, Richter A, Daims H, Urich T, Schwark L, Schleper C. 2008. Nitrification in terrestrial hot springs of Iceland and Kamchatka. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 64, 167–174.

Rietz D N, Haynes R J. 2003. Effects of irrigation-induced salinity and sodicity on soil microbial activity. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 35, 845–854.

Romero-Aranda R, Soria T, Cuartero J. 2001. Tomato plant-water uptake and plant-water relationships under saline growth conditions. Plant Science, 160, 265–272.

Santoro A E, Francis C A, De Sieyes N R, Boehm A B. 2008. Shifts in the relative abundance of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea across physicochemical gradients in a subterranean estuary. Environmental Microbiology, 10, 1068–1079.

Sardinha M, Müller T, Schmeisky H, Joergensen R G. 2003. Microbial performance in soils along a salinity gradient under acidic conditions. Applied Soil Ecology, 23, 237–244.

Setia R, Marschner P, Baldock J, Chittleborough D. 2010. Is CO2 evolution in saline soils affected by an osmotic effect and calcium carbonate? Biology and Fertility of Soils, 46, 781–792.

Shen J P, Zhang L M, Zhu Y G, Zhang J B, He J Z. 2008. Abundance and composition of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and ammonia-oxidizing archaea communities of an alkaline sandy loam. Environmental Microbiology, 10, 1601–1611.

Sher Y, Zaady E, Ronen Z, Nejidat A. 2012. Nitrification activity and levels of inorganic nitrogen in soils of a semi-arid ecosystem following a drought-induced shrub death. European Journal of Soil Biology, 53, 86–93.

Shi Y F, Wu Z J, Shi Y, Chen L J, Wang S Y. 2007. A modified method for measuring soil hydroxylamine reductase activity. Chinese Journal of Ecology, 26, 1133–1137. (in Chinese)

Stopnišek N, Gubry-Rangin C, Höfferle Š, Nicol G W, Mandi?-Mulec I, Prosser J I. 2010. Thaumarchaeal ammonia oxidation in an acidic forest peat soil is not influenced by ammonium amendment. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 76, 7626–7634.

Tourna M, Freitag T E, Nicol G W, Prosser J I. 2008. Growth, activity and temperature responses of ammonia-oxidizing archaea and bacteria in soil microcosms. Environmental Microbiology, 10, 1357–1364.

Tourna M, Stieglmeier M, Spang A, Könneke M, Schintlmeister A, Urich T, Engel M, Schloter M, Wagner M, Richter A, Schleper C. 2011. Nitrososphaera viennensis, an ammonia oxidizing archaeon from soil. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108, 8420–8425.

Trias R, Ruiz-Rueda O, García-Lledó A, Vilar-Sanz A, López-Flores R, Quintana X D, Hallin S, Bañeras L. 2012. Emergent macrophytes act selectively on ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78, 6352–6356.

Villa-Castorena M, Ulery A L, Catalán-Valencia E A, Remmenga M D. 2003. Salinity and nitrogen rate effects on the growth and yield of chile pepper plants. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 67, 1781–1789.

Verhamme D T, Prosser J I, Nicol G W. 2011. Ammonia concentration determines differential growth of ammonia-oxidising archaea and bacteria in soil microcosms. ISME Journal, 5, 1067–1071.

Verma A K, Gupta S K, Isaac R K. 2012. Use of saline water for irrigation in monsoon climate and deep water table regions: Simulation modeling with SWAP. Agricultural Water Management, 115, 186–193.

Wang Y F, Gu J D. 2014. Effects of allylthiourea, salinity, and pH on ammonia/ammonium-oxidizing prokaryotes in mangrove sediment incubated in laboratory microcosms. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 98, 3257–3274

Wang J H, Yin R, Zhang H Y, Lin X G, Chen R R, Qin S W. 2007. Changes in soil enzyme activities, microbial biomass, and soil nutrition status in response to fertilization regimes in a long-term field experiment. Ecology and Environment, 16, 191–196. (in Chinese)

Webster G, Embley T M, Freitag T E, Smith Z, Prosser J I. 2005. Links between ammonia oxidizer species composition, functional diversity and nitrification kinetics in grassland soils. Environmental Microbiology, 7, 676–684.

Wichern J, Wichern F, Joergensen R G. 2006. Impact of salinity on soil microbial communities and the decomposition of maize in acidic soils. Geoderma, 137, 100–108.

Ye L, Zhang T. 2011. Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria dominates over ammonia-oxidizing archaea in a saline nitrification reactor under low DO and high nitrogen loading. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 108, 2544–2552.

Yuan B C, Xu X G, Li Z Z, Gao T P, Gao M, Fan X W, Deng J M. 2007. Microbial biomass and activity in alkalized magnesic soils under arid conditions. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 39, 3004–3013.

Ying J Y, Zhang L M, He J Z. 2010. Putative ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea in an acidic red soil with different land utilization patterns. Environmental Microbiology Reports, 2, 304–312.

Zhang D, Li W, Xin C, Tang W, Eneji A E, Dong H. 2012. Lint yield and nitrogen use efficiency of field-grown cotton vary with soil salinity and nitrogen application rate. Field Crops Research, 138, 63–70.

Zhou L L, Meng Y L, Wang Y H, Lu H L, Zhang G W, Zhang L, Zhou Z G. 2010. Effects of salinity stress on cotton field soil microbe quantity and soil enzyme activity. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 24, 241–246. (in Chinese)

Zhou Z, Shi X, Zheng Y, Qin Z, Xie D, Li Z, Guo T. 2014. Abundance and community structure of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea in purple soil under long-term fertilization. European Journal of Soil Biology, 60, 24–33.
[1] YANG Ya-jun, XU Hong-xing, WU Zhi-hong, LU Zhong-xian. Effects of inhibitors on the protease profiles and degradation of activated Cry toxins in larval midgut juices of Cnaphalocrocis medinalis (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(8): 2195-2203.
[2] ZHAO Yong-gan, WANG Shu-juan, LIU Jia, ZHUO Yu-qun, LI Yan, ZHANG Wen-chao. Fertility and biochemical activity in sodic soils 17 years after reclamation with flue gas desulfurization gypsum[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(12): 3312-3321.
[3] HUANG Shuang-jie, ZHAO Chun-fang, ZHU Zhen, ZHOU Li-hui, ZHENG Qing-huan, WANG Cai-lin. Characterization of eating quality and starch properties of two Wx alleles japonica rice cultivars under different nitrogen treatments[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2020, 19(4): 988-998.
[4] SHAO Yuan-zhi, ZENG Jiao-ke, TANG Hong, ZHOU Yi, LI Wen. The chemical treatments combined with antagonistic yeast control anthracnose and maintain the quality of postharvest mango fruit[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2019, 18(5): 1159-1169.
[5] CHEN Xu, HAN Xiao-zeng, YOU Meng-yang, YAN Jun, LU Xin-chun, William R. Horwath, ZOU Wen-xiu . Soil macroaggregates and organic-matter content regulate microbial communities and enzymatic activity in a Chinese Mollisol[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2019, 18(11): 2605-2618.
[6] RONG Qin-lei, LI Ruo-nan, HUANG Shao-wen, TANG Ji-wei, ZHANG Yan-cai, WANG Li-ying. Soil microbial characteristics and yield response to partial substitution of chemical fertilizer with organic amendments in greenhouse vegetable production[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2018, 17(06): 1432-1444.
[7] TONG Xiao-lei, WANG Zheng-yang, MA Bai-quan, ZHANG Chun-xia, ZHU Ling-cheng, MA Feng-wang, LI Ming-jun. Structure and expression analysis of the sucrose synthase gene family in apple[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2018, 17(04): 847-856.
[8] LIU Xiu-wei, Til Feike, CHEN Su-ying, SHAO Li-wei, SUN Hong-yong, ZHANG Xi-ying. Effects of saline irrigation on soil salt accumulation and grain yield in the winter wheat-summer maize double cropping system in the low plain of North China[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2016, 15(12): 2886-2898.
[9] LIAO Yan, WU Wen-liang, MENG Fan-qiao, LI Hu. Impact of agricultural intensification on soil organic carbon: A study using DNDC in Huantai County, Shandong Province, China[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2016, 15(06): 1364-1375.
No Suggested Reading articles found!