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Dynamics of nitrifiers in soils of intensively vegetable cultivated areas in Sri Lanka

Authors:

K. K. K. Nawarathna ,

Horticultural Crops Research and Development Institute, Gannoruwa, Peradeniya, LK
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W. S. Dandeniya,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About W. S.
Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture
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R. S. Dharmakeerthi,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About R. S.
Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture
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P. Weerasinghe

Horticultural Crops Research and Development Institute, Gannoruwa, Peradeniya, LK
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Abstract

Nitrification tend to reduce the agronomic fertilizer use efficiency in cropping systems because nitrate, the end product of nitrification, has high potential to loss from soil environment due to denitrification and leaching. The population characteristics of ammonia oxidizing and nitrite oxidizing microorganisms carrying out nitrification in soils may affect the effectiveness of approaches taken to suppress nitrification. A study was conducted to assess the activity and abundance of nitrifiers in soils of intensively vegetable grown regions in Sri Lanka. Soil samples were collected from 72 locations across Nuwara Eliya, Marassana, Kalpitiya and Gannoruwa representing vegetable cultivated fields managed conventionally (n=45) and organically (n=9), and uncultivated areas (n=18). Basic soil characteristics were determined using standard procedures. Potential nitrification rate (PNR) and the abundance of ammonia oxidizers and nitrite oxidizers were estimated. Chemical characteristics of soils varied widely with pH, EC and organic C% ranging from 3.8 to 8.5, 0.04 to 0.94 dS/m and 0.9% to 4.5%, respectively. The PNR of the studied soils ranged from 0.18 to 15.80 NO3--N/kg/h. The abundance of ammonia oxidizers and nitrite oxidizers ranged from 1.96 to 5.97 log10CFU g-1 and 1.36 to 5.63 log10CFU g-1, respectively. The potential activity of nitrifiers did not correlate with the abundance of ammonia oxidizers or nitrite oxidizers. Thus, the functional and compositional diversities of nitrifying communities may be different across the soils. PNR values for studied soils are higher compared to reported values in literature. Hence, appropriate measures need to be taken to suppress nitrification as high nitrification rates could lead to reduce fertilizer use efficiency and increase risk of groundwater contamination with nitrate.
How to Cite: Nawarathna, K.K.K., Dandeniya, W.S., Dharmakeerthi, R.S. and Weerasinghe, P., 2019. Dynamics of nitrifiers in soils of intensively vegetable cultivated areas in Sri Lanka. Tropical Agricultural Research, 30(3), pp.55–68. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v30i3.8319
Published on 06 Nov 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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