Partial root-zone irrigation enhanced soil enzyme activities and water use of maize under different ratios of inorganic to organic nitrogen fertilizers

Fusheng Li*, Jiangmin Yu, Mengling Nong, Shaozhong Kang, Jianhua ZHANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Partial root-zone irrigation (PRI) is an effective water-saving irrigation method but the heterogeneous soil moisture distribution that may affect soil enzymatic activities and crop water use. With pot-grown maize, we investigated the dry mass accumulation, crop water-use efficiency and the activities of four major soil enzymes from jointing to grain filling stages of maize plants subjected to PRI and also different ratios of inorganic to organic N fertilizers. Three irrigation methods, i.e. conventional irrigation (CI), alternate PRI (APRI) and fixed PRI (FPRI) and three ratios of inorganic to organic N, i.e. 100% inorganic (F1), 70% inorganic + 30% organic (F2) and 40% inorganic + 60% organic (F3), were applied. Compared to CI, PRI reduced total dry mass and water consumption of maize by 9.5 and 15.7%, respectively, which led to an increase of canopy water-use efficiency by 7.4%. Within the same irrigation method (CI, APRI or FPRI), added organic N increased total dry mass and canopy WUE. During the whole period, maximal soil catalase, urease and acid-phosphatase activities occurred in the wet root-zone of PRI, but maximal invertase activity occurred in the dry root-zone of PRI. When organic N was the most (F3), APRI increased soil catalase, urease and invertase activities at jointing stage if compared to CI, but PRI reduced the acid-phosphatase activity from jointing to filling stages. Soil catalase, urease and invertase activities generally increased with more organic manure, but the maximal acid-phosphatase activities occurred under moderate amount of organic N (F2). Our results indicate that APRI increases canopy WUE and the catalase, urease and invertase activities in its wet zone and organic N plays a major role in enhancing canopy WUE and soil enzymatic activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-239
Number of pages9
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Volume97
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes

User-Defined Keywords

  • Maize (Zea mays)
  • N fertilizer
  • Partial root-zone irrigation
  • Soil enzymes
  • Water stress
  • Water-use efficiency

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