Evaluation of nitrogen availability indices and their relationship with plant response on acidic soils of India

https://doi.org/10.17221/675/2012-PSECitation:Bordoloi L.J., Singh A.K., Manoj-Kumar , Patiram , Hazarika S. (2013): Evaluation of nitrogen availability indices and their relationship with plant response on acidic soils of India. Plant Soil Environ., 59: 235-240.
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Plant’s nitrogen (N) requirement that is not fulfilled by available N in soil has to be supplied externally through chemical fertilizers. A reliable estimate of soil N-supplying capacity (NSC) is therefore essential for efficient fertilizer use. In this study involving a pot experiment with twenty acidic soils varying widely in properties, we evaluated six chemical indices of soil N-availability viz. organic carbon (Corg), total N (Ntot), acid and alkaline-KMnO4 extractable-N, hot KCl extractable-N (KCl-N) and phosphate-borate buffer extractable-N (PBB-N), based on their strength of correlation with available-N values obtained through aerobic incubation (AI-N) and anaerobic incubation (ANI-N), and also with the dry matter yield (DMY), N percentage and plant (maize) N uptake (PNU). In general, the soils showed large variability in NSC as indicated by variability in PNU which ranged from 598 to 1026 mg/pot. Correlations of the N-availability indices with AI-N and ANI-N decreased in the order: PBB-N (r = 0.784** and 0.901**) > KCl-N (r = 0.773** and 0.743**) > acid KMnO4-N (r = 0.575** and 0.651**) ≥ Corg (r = 0.591** and 0.531**) ≥ alkaline KMnO4-N (r = 0.394** and 0.548**) > Ntot (r = 0.297** and 0.273*). Of all the indices evaluated, PBB-N showed the best correlations with plant parameters as well (r = 0.790** and 0.793** for DMY and PNU, respectively). Based on the highest correlations of PBB-N with biological indices as well as plant responses, we propose PBB-N as an appropriate index of N-availability in the acidic soils of India and other regions with similar soils.

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