Do combined applications of crop residues and inorganic fertilizer lower emission of N2O from soil?

Kwame A Frimpong, Elizabeth Baggs

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83 Citations (Scopus)


Emissions of N2O were measured following addition of 15N-labelled residues of tropical plant species [Vigna unguiculata (cowpea), Mucuna pruriens and Leucaena leucocephala] to a Ferric Luvisol from Ghana at a rate of 100 mg N/kg soil under controlled environment conditions. Residues were also applied in different ratio combinations with inorganic N fertilizer, at a total rate of 100 mg N/kg soil. N2O emissions were increased after addition of residues, and further increased with combined (ratio) applications of residues and inorganic N fertilizer. However, 15N-N2O production was low and short-lived in all treatments, suggesting that most of the measured N2O-N was derived from the applied fertilizer or native soil mineral N pools. There was no consistent trend in magnitude of emissions with increasing proportion of inorganic fertilizer in the application. The positive interactive effect between residue- and fertilizer-N sources was most pronounced in the 25:75 Leucaena:fertilizer and cowpea:fertilizer treatments where 1082 and 1130 mg N2O-N/g residue were emitted over 30 days. N2O (log(e)) emission from all residue amended treatments was positively correlated with the residue C:N ratio, and negatively correlated with residue polyphenol content, polyphenol:N ratio and (lignin + polyphenol):N ratio, indicating the role of residue chemical composition in regulating emissions even when combined with inorganic fertilizer. The positive interactive effect in our treatments suggests that it is unlikely that combined applications of residues and inorganic fertilizer can lower N2O emissions unless the residue is of very low quality promoting strong immobilisation of soil mineral N.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-424
Number of pages13
JournalSoil Use & Management
Issue number4
Early online date31 Aug 2010
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • nitrous oxide
  • crop residues
  • inorganic fertilizer
  • residue quality
  • stable isotopes
  • tropical soil
  • nitrous-oxide emissions
  • agroforestry residues
  • plant residues
  • nitrification
  • denitrification
  • mineralization
  • decomposition
  • litter
  • agriculture
  • management


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