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Mathias Neumann Andersen

Carbon retention in the soil-plant system under different irrigation regimes

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  • Department of Agroecology and Environment
  • Agrohydrology and Water Quality
Carbon (C) sequestration through irrigation management is a potential strategy to reduce C emissions from agriculture. Two experiments (Exps. I and II) were conducted to investigate the effects of different irrigation strategies on C retention in the soil-plant system in order to evaluate their environmental impacts. Tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum L., var. Cedrico) were grown in split-root pots in a climate-controlled glasshouse and were subjected to full irrigation (FI), deficit irrigation (DI) and alternate partial root-zone irrigation (PRI) at early fruiting stage. In Exp. I, each plant received 2.0 g chemical nitrogen (N), while in Exp. II, 1.6 g chemical N and maize residue containing 0.4 g organic N were applied into the pot. The results showed that, in both experiments, the concentration and the amount of total C in the soil were lower in FI and PRI as compared to DI, presumably due to a greater microbial activity in the two treatments; particularly the PRI induced drying and wetting cycles of the soils may cause an increase of microbial activities and respiration rate, which could lead to more C losses from the soil. However, in both experiments the total C concentration in the PRI plants was the highest as compared with the FI and DI plants, and this was seemingly due to improved plant N nutrition under the PRI treatment. Consequently, the total amount of C retained in the soil-plant system was highest in the FI and was similar, but lower, for the PRI and DI. The different N input in the two experiments might have affected the C retention in the soil and in the plant biomass. Nevertheless, with a same degree of water saving, PRI was superior to DI in terms of enhancing C concentration in the plant biomass, which might have contributed to a better fruit quality in tomatoes as reported by (Zegbe et al., 2004) and (Zegbe et al., 2006).
Original languageEnglish
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Pages (from-to)419-424
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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