Please wait a minute...
Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2017, Vol. 16 Issue (08): 1819-1831    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(16)61476-4
Agro-Ecosystem & Environment Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Impacts of chemical fertilizer reduction and organic amendments supplementation on soil nutrient, enzyme activity and heavy metal content
NING Chuan-chuan, GAO Peng-dong, WANG Bing-qing, LIN Wei-peng, JIANG Ni-hao, CAI Kun-zheng
Key Laboratory of Tropical Agro-environment, Ministry of Agriculture/South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, P.R.China
Download:  PDF in ScienceDirect  
Export:  BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      
Abstract      Excessive use of agro-chemicals (such as mineral fertilizers) poses potential risks to soil quality. Application of organic amendments and reduction of inorganic fertilizer are economically feasible and environmentally sound approaches to develop sustainable agriculture. This study investigated and evaluated the effects of mineral fertilizer reduction and partial substitution of organic amendment on soil fertility and heavy metal content in a 10-season continually planted vegetable field during 2009–2012. The experiment included four treatments: 100% chemical fertilizer (CF100), 80% chemical fertilizer (CF80), 60% chemical fertilizer and 20% organic fertilizer (CF60+OM20), and 40% chemical fertilizer and 40% organic fertilizer (CF40+OM40). Soil nutrients, enzyme activity and heavy metal content were determined. The results showed that single chemical fertilizer reduction (CF80) had no significant effect on soil organic matter content, soil catalase activity and soil heavy metal content, but slightly reduced soil available N, P, K, and soil urease activity, and significantly reduced soil acid phosphatase activity. Compared with CF100, 40 or 60% reduction of chemical fertilizer supplemented with organic fertilizer (CF60+OM20, CF40+OM40) significantly increased soil organic matter, soil catalase activity and urease activity especially in last several seasons, but reduced soil available P, K, and soil acid phosphatase activity. In addition, continuous application of organic fertilizer resulted in higher accumulation of Zn, Cd, and Cr in soil in the late stage of experiment, which may induce adverse effects on soil health and food safety.
Keywords:  chemical fertilizer        organic amendments        soil fertility        vegetable        soil health        heavy metal  
Received: 09 March 2016   Accepted:

This study was financially supported by grants of the Key Projects in the Key Technologies R&D Program of China during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2012BAD14B00) and the Guangdong Provincial Science and Technology Plan Key Project , China (2012A020100003, 2015A050502043).

Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence CAI Kun-zheng, E-mail:    

Cite this article: 

NING Chuan-chuan, GAO Peng-dong, WANG Bing-qing, LIN Wei-peng, JIANG Ni-hao, CAI Kun-zheng . 2017. Impacts of chemical fertilizer reduction and organic amendments supplementation on soil nutrient, enzyme activity and heavy metal content. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 16(08): 1819-1831.

Agemian H, Chau A S Y. 1976. Evaluation of extraction techniques for the determination of metals in aquatic sediments. The Analyst, 101, 761–767.

Allace A, Berry W L.1989. Dose-response curves for zinc, cadmium and nickel in combination of one, two, or three. Soil Science, 147, 401–410.

Arancon N Q, Edwards C A, Bierman P. 2006. Influences of vermicomposts on field strawberries: Part 2. Effects on soil microbiological and chemical properties. Bioresource Technology, 97, 831–840.

Arancon N Q, Edwards C A, Bierman P, Welch C, Metzger J D. 2004. The influence of vermicompost applications to strawberries: Part 1. Effects on growth and yield. Bioresource Technology, 93, 145–153.

Bao S D. 2000. Soil Agrochemical Analysis. China Agriculture Press, Beijing, China. pp. 56–58. (in Chinese)

Bartl B, Hartl W, Horak O. 2002. Long-term application of biowaste compost versus mineral fertilization: Effects on the nutrient and heavy metal contents of soil and plants. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 165, 161–165.

Beissner L, Roemer W. 1999. The influence of phosphorus nutrition and pH on phosphatase activity of sugar beet roots. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 162, 83–88 .

Blair N, Faulkner R D, Till A R, Poulton P R. 2006. Long-term management impactions on soil C, N and physical fertility. Part I: Broadbalk experiment. Soil and Tillage Research, 91, 30–38.

Bohme L, Langer U, Bohme F. 2005. Microbial biomass, enzyme activities and microbial community structure in two European long-term field experiments. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 109, 141–152.

Chang E H, Chung R S, Tsai Y H. 2007. Effect of different application rates of organic fertilizer on soil enzyme activity and microbial population. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 53, 132–140.

Chaudhry A N, Jilani G, Khan M A, Iqbal T. 2009. Improved processing of poultry litter to reduce nitrate leaching and enhance its fertilizer quality. Asian Journal of Chemistry, 21, 4997–5003.

Diacono M, Montemurro F. 2010. Long-term effects of organic amendments on soil fertility. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 30, 401–422.

Dinesh R, Srinivasan V, Hamza S, Manjusha A. 2010. Short-term incorporation of organic manures and biofertilizers influences biochemical and microbial characteristics of soils under an annual crop [Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.)]. Bioresource Technology, 101, 4697–4702.

Edmeades D C. 2003. The long-term effects of manures and fertilizers on soil productivity and quality: A review. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 66, 165–180.

Garcia-Gil J C, Ceppi S B, Velasco M I, Polo A, Senesi N. 2004. Long-term effects of amendment with municipal solid waste compost on the elemental and acidic functional group composition and pH-buffer capacity of soil humic acids. Geoderma, 121, 135–142.

GB 15618-2008. 2008. Environmental Quality Standard for Soils. Ministry of Environmental Protection, China. (in Chinese)

Geisseler D, Horwath W R, Joergensen R G, Ludwig B. 2010. Pathways of nitrogen utilization by soil microorganisms -a review. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 42, 2058–2067.

Gil-Sotres F, Trasar-Cepeda C, Leiros M, Seoane S. 2005. Different approaches to evaluating soil quality using biochemical properties. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 37, 877–887.

Gong W, Yan X Y, Wang J Y, Hu T X, Gong Y B. 2009. Long-term manuring and fertilization effects on soil organic carbon pools under a wheat-maize cropping system in North China Plain. Plant and Soil, 314, 67–76.

Guo J H, Liu X J, Zhang Y, Shen J L, Han W X, Zhang W F, Christie P, Goulding K W T, Vitousek P M, Zhang F S. 2010. Significant acidification in major Chinese croplands. Science, 327, 1008–1010.

Hao X Y, Chang C. 2003. Does long-term heavy cattle manure application increase salinity of a clay loam soil in semi-arid southern Alberta? Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 94, 89–103.

Hartl W, Putz B, Erhart E. 2003. Influence of rates and timing of biowaste compost application on rye yield and soil nitrate levels. European Journal of Soil Biology, 39, 129–139.

Hera C. 1996. The role of inorganic fertilizers and their management practices. Fertilizer Research, 43, 63–81.

Herencia J F, Ruiz J C, Melero S, Garcia-Galavis P A, Maqueda C. 2008. A short-term comparison of organic v. conventional agriculture in a silty loam soil using two organic amendments. Journal of Agricultural Science, 146, 677–687.

Herencia J F, Ruiz-Porras J C, Melero S, Garcia-Galavis P A, Morillo E, Maqueda C. 2007. Comparison between organic and mineral fertilization for soil fertility levels, crop macronutrient concentrations, and yield. Agronomy Journal, 99, 973–983.

Huang S, Rui W Y, Peng X X, Huang Q R, Zhang W J. 2010. Organic carbon fractions affected by long-term fertilization in a subtropical paddy soil. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 86, 153–160.

Iqbal J, Hu R G, Lin S, Hatano R, Feng M L, Lu L, Ahamadou B, Du L J. 2009. CO2 emission in a subtropical red paddy soil (Ultisol) as affected by straw and N-fertilizer applications: A case study in Southern China. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 131, 292–302.

Johnson J L, Temple K L.1964. Some variables affecting the measurement of “catalase activity” in soil. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 28, 207–209.

Kumpiene J, Lagerkvist A, Maurice C. 2008. Stabilization of As, Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn in soil using amendments - A review. Waste Management, 28, 215–225.

Lazcano C, Gómez-Brandón M, Revilla P, Dominguez J. 2013. Short-term effects of organic and inorganic fertilizers on soil microbial community structure and function. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 49, 723–733.

Lee C H, Park C Y, Park K D, Jeon W T, Kim P J. 2004. Long-term effects of fertilization on the forms and availability of soil phosphorus in rice paddy. Chemosphere, 56, 299–304.

Liang Q, Chen H, Gong Y, Yang H, Fan M, Kuzyakov Y. 2014. Effects of 15 years of manure and mineral fertilizers on enzyme activities in particle-size fractions in a North China Plain soil. European Journal of Soil Biology, 60, 112–119.

Liu E K, Yan C R, Mei X R, Zhang Y Q, Fan T L. 2013. Long-term effect of manure and fertilizer on soil organic carbon pools in dryland farming in Northwest China. PLOS ONE, 8, e56536.

Marcote I, Hernández T, García C, Polo A. 2001. Influence of one or two successive annual applications of organic fertilizers on the enzyme activities of a soil under barley cultivation. Bioresource Technology, 79, 147–154.

Marinari S, Masciandaro G, Ceccanti B, Grego S. 2000. Influence of organic and mineral fertilisers on soil biological and physical properties. Bioresource Technology, 72, 9–17.

Mclsaac G F, Hirschi M C, Mitchell J K.1991. Nitrogen and phosphorus in eroded sediment from corn and soybean tillage systems. Journal of Environmental Quality, 20, 663–670.

Monaco S, Hatch D J, Sacco D, Bertora C, Grignani C. 2008. Changes in chemical and biochemical soil properties induced by 11-yr repeated additions of different organic materials in maize-based forage systems. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 40, 608–615.

Monreal C M, Bergstrom D W. 2000. Soil enzymatic factors expressing the influence of land use, tillage system and texture on soil biochemical quality. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 80, 419–428.

Naidu R, Harter R D. 1998. Effect of different organic ligands on cadmium sorption by and extractability from soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 62, 644–650.

Page A L, Miller R H, Keeney D R. 1982. Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 2, Chemical and Microbiological Properties. American Society of Agronomy Madison, Wisconsin.

Pascual JA, García C, Hernandez T. 1999. Lasting microbiological and biochemical effects of the addition of municipal solid waste to an arid soil. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 30, 1–6.

Rajkumar M, Prasad M N V, Freitas H, Ae N. 2009. Biotechnological applications of serpentine bacteria for phytoremediation of heavy metals. Critical Reviews in Biotechnology, 29, 120–130.

Roelcke M, Han Y, Schleef K H, Zhu J G, Liu G, Cai Z C, Richter J. 2004. Recent trends and recommendations for nitrogen fertilization in intensive agriculture in eastern China. Pedosphere, 14, 449–460.

Saha S, Mina B L, Gopinath K A, Kundu S, Gupta H S. 2008. Relative changes in phosphatase activities as influenced by source and application rate of organic composts in field crops. Bioresource Technology, 99, 1750–1757.

Sharpley A N, McDowell R W, Weld J L, Kleinman P J A. 2001. Assessing site vulnerability to phosphorus loss in an agricultural watershed. Journal of Environmental Quality, 30, 2026–2036.

Tabatabai M A. 1994. Soil enzymes. In: Weaver R W, Angel G S, Bottomley P S, eds., Methods of Soil Analysis. Soil Science Society of America, Madison. pp. 775–833.

Tessier A, Campbell P G C, Bisson M. 1979. Sequential of extraction procedure for the speciation of particulate trace metals. Analytical Chemistry, 51, 844–851.

Udom B E, Mbagwu J S C, Adesodun J K, Agbim N N. 2004. Distributions of zinc, copper, cadmium and lead in a tropical ultisol after long-term disposal of sewage sludge. Environment International, 30, 467–470.

Udovic M, McBride M. 2012. Influence of compost addition on lead and arsenic bioavailability in reclaimed orchard soil assessed using Porcellio scaber bioaccumulation test. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 205, 144–149.

Walkley A, Black I A. 1934. An examination of the Degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Science, 37, 29–38.

Wang B Q, Yin N W, Zheng M H, Huang Y Q, Luo Y L, Chen S M, Cai K Z, Wang J W. 2012. Effects of reduction of chemical fertilizer and organic manure supplement on vegetables yield and quality. Chinese Agricultural Science Bulletin, 28, 242–247. (in Chinese)

Wang K F, Peng N, Wang K R, Xie X L. 2008. Effects of long-term manure fertilization on heavy metal content and its availability in paddy soils. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 22, 105–109.

Wang S Q, Han X X, Qiao Y F, Wang S Y. 2008. Effects of long-term fertilization on enzyme activities in black soil of Northeast China. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 19, 551–556. (in Chinese)

Westerman P W, Bicudo J R. 2005. Management considerations for organic waste use in agriculture. Bioresource Technology, 96, 215–221.

Yao H Y, Huang C Y. 2006. Microbial Ecology and Experimental Techniques. Sciences Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)

Zhang H M, Wang B R, Xu M G, Fan T L. 2009a. Crop yield and soil responses to long-term fertilization on a red soil in southern China. Pedosphere, 19, 199–207.

Zhang H M, Xu M G, Zhang F. 2009b. Long-term effects of manure application on grain yield under different cropping systems and ecological conditions in China. Journal of Agricultural Science, 147, 31–42.

Zhao B, Maeda M, Zhang J, Zhu A, Ozaki Y. 2006. Accumulation and chemical fractionation of heavy metals in andisols after a different, 6-year fertilization management. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 13, 90–97.
[1] GAO Peng, ZHANG Tuo, LEI Xing-yu, CUI Xin-wei, LU Yao-xiong, FAN Peng-fei, LONG Shi-ping, HUANG Jing, GAO Ju-sheng, ZHANG Zhen-hua, ZHANG Hui-min. Improvement of soil fertility and rice yield after long-term application of cow manure combined with inorganic fertilizers[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2023, 22(7): 2221-2232.
[2] Muhammad QASWAR, LI Dong-chu, HUANG Jing, HAN Tian-fu, Waqas AHMED, Sehrish ALI, Muhammad Numan KHAN, Zulqarnain Haider KHAN, XU Yong-mei, LI Qian, ZHANG Hui-min, WANG Bo-ren, Ahmad TAUQEER. Dynamics of organic carbon and nitrogen in deep soil profile and crop yields under long-term fertilization in wheat-maize cropping system[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(3): 826-839.
[3] LIU Han-wen, ZHANG Xiao-ke, ZHANG Gui-zong, KOU Xin-chang, LIANG Wen-ju. Partial organic substitution weakens the negative effect of chemical fertilizer on soil micro-food webs[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2022, 21(10): 3037-3050.
[4] WANG Ren-jie, SONG Jia-shan, FENG Yong-tao, ZHOU Jiang-xiang, XIE Jun-yu, Asif KHAN, CHE Zong-xian, ZHANG Shu-lan, YANG Xue-yun. Changes in soil organic carbon pools following long-term fertilization under a rain-fed cropping system in the Loess Plateau, China[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(9): 2512-2525.
[5] Ebrahim SHEHATA, CHENG Deng-miao, MA Qian-qian, LI Yan-li, LIU Yuan-wang, FENG Yao, JI Zhen-yu, LI Zhao-jun . Microbial community dynamics during composting of animal manures contaminated with arsenic, copper, and oxytetracycline[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(6): 1649-1659.
[6] CUI Hu, OU Yang, WANG Li-xia, YAN Bai-xing, LI Ying-xin, DING Da-wei. Phosphate rock reduces the bioavailability of heavy metals by influencing the bacterial communities during aerobic composting[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(5): 1137-1146.
[7] WANG Xiao-bo, WU Nan, CAI Rui-jie, GENG Wei-na, XU Xiao-yan. Changes in speciation, mobility and bioavailability of Cd, Cr and As during the transformation process of pig manure by black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens)[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(5): 1157-1166.
[8] MA Xin-ling, LIU Jia, CHEN Xiao-fen, LI Wei-tao, JIANG Chun-yu, WU Meng, LIU Ming, LI Zhong-pei. Bacterial diversity and community composition changes in paddy soils that have different parent materials and fertility levels[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2021, 20(10): 2797-2806.
[9] CHEN Jing-rui, QIN Wen-jing, CHEN Xiao-fen, CAO Wei-dong, QIAN Guo-min, LIU Jia, XU Chang-xu. Application of Chinese milk vetch affects rice yield and soil productivity in a subtropical double-rice cropping system[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2020, 19(8): 2116-2126.
[10] WANG Xiao-bin, YAN Xiang, LI Xiu-ying. Environmental risks for application of magnesium slag to soils in China[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2020, 19(7): 1671-1679.
[11] WANG Xiao-bin, YAN Xiang, LI Xiu-ying. Environmental risk for application of ammonia-soda white mud in soils in China[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2020, 19(3): 601-611.
[12] ZHOU Jie-hong, HAN Fei, LI Kai, WANG Yu. Vegetable production under COVID-19 pandemic in China: An analysis based on the data of 526 households[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2020, 19(12): 2854-2865.
[13] GU Hai-ying, WANG Chang-wei. Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on vegetable production and countermeasures from an agricultural insurance perspective[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2020, 19(12): 2866-2876.
[14] ZHANG Wen-wen, WANG Chong, XUE Rui, WANG Li-jie. Effects of salinity on the soil microbial community and soil fertility[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2019, 18(6): 1360-1368.
[15] WANG Zhi-zhi, LIU Yin-quan, SHI Min, HUANG Jian-hua, CHEN Xue-xin. Parasitoid wasps as effective biological control agents[J]. >Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 2019, 18(4): 705-715.
No Suggested Reading articles found!