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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2022, Vol. 21 Issue (6): 1576-1592    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(21)63678-X
Special Issue: 水稻耕作栽培合辑Rice Physiology · Biochemistry · Cultivation · Tillage
Crop Science Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Optimization of nitrogen fertilization improves rice quality by affecting the structure and physicochemical properties of starch at high yield levels
ZHOU Tian-yang1, 2, LI Zhi-kang1, 2, LI En-peng1, 2, WANG Wei-lu3, YUAN Li-min1, 2, ZHANG Hao1, 2, LIU Li-jun1, 2, WANG Zhi-qin1, 2, GU Jun-fei1, 2, 3, YANG Jian-chang1, 2
1 Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Physiology/Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Crop Cultivation and Physiology, Agricultural College of Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, P.R.China 
2 Jiangsu Co-Innovation Center for Modern Production Technology of Grain Crops, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, P.R.China 
3 Joint International Research Laboratory of Agriculture and Agri-Product Safety, the Ministry of Education of China, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, P.R.China
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Abstract  A major challenge in modern rice production is to achieve the dual goals of high yield and good quality with low environmental costs.  This study was designed to determine whether optimized nitrogen (N) fertilization could fulfill these multiple goals.  In two-year experiments, two high yielding ‘super’ rice cultivars were grown with different N fertilization management regimes, including zero N input, local farmers’ practice (LFP) with heavy N inputs, and optimized N fertilization (ONF).  In ONF, by reducing N input, increasing planting density, and optimizing the ratio of urea application at different stages, N use efficiency and the physicochemical and textural properties of milled rice were improved at higher yield levels.  Compared with LFP, yield and partial factor productivity of applied N (PFP) under ONF were increased (on average) by 1.70 and 13.06%, respectively.  ONF increased starch and amylose content, and significantly decreased protein content.  The contents of the short chains of A chain (degree of polymerization (DP) 6–12) and B1 chain (DP 13–25) of amylopectin were significantly increased under ONF, which resulted in a decrease in the stability of rice starch crystals.  ONF increased viscosity values and improved the thermodynamic properties of starch, which resulted in better eating and cooking quality of the rice.  Thus, ONF could substantially compensate the negative effects caused by N fertilizer and achieve the multiple goals of higher grain quality and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) at high yield levels.  These results will be useful for applications of high quality rice production at high yield levels.
Keywords:  nitrogen fertilization        rice starch        starch structure        physicochemical properties        chain length distribution  
Received: 29 December 2020   Accepted: 18 March 2021
Fund: This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32071943 and 31872853) and the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions, China (PAPD).
About author:  ZHOU Tian-yang, E-mail:; Correspondence GU Jun-fei, Tel/Fax: +86-514-87979317, E-mail:; YANG Jian-chang, Tel/Fax: +86-514-87979317, E-mail:

Cite this article: 

ZHOU Tian-yang, LI Zhi-kang, LI En-peng, WANG Wei-lu, YUAN Li-min, ZHANG Hao, LIU Li-jun, WANG Zhi-qin, GU Jun-fei, YANG Jian-chang. 2022. Optimization of nitrogen fertilization improves rice quality by affecting the structure and physicochemical properties of starch at high yield levels. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 21(6): 1576-1592.

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