Influence of Sampling Date on Soil Nitrogen Availability Indices uri icon


  • In spite of the great effort that has been devoted to the search for a chemical laboratory index to predict nitrogen (N) mineralization capability of soils, the results have not yet been fully satisfactory. A continued effort is still needed to increase the knowledge of the sources of variation that influence potentially available soil N. The time of sampling has received little attention, taking into account its potential to influence N-mineralization patterns. In this work, soil samples from three different agrosystems, consisting of a double-crop sequence of small grains and maize, an intensively grazed pasture, and a rainfed olive orchard, were collected at different dates. Several chemical extractions were performed, and the results were correlated with N uptake by turnip (Brassica campestris, L.) grown in a pot experiment. Kjeldahl N was the chemical test that best correlated (R2 = 0.621) with N uptake by turnip. Kjeldahl N showed great versatility relative to the origin of the soil samples. However, it was not very sensitive to the time of sampling. It did not detect changes occurring in the soil over a short period of time. Soil inorganic N showed the second highest coefficient of correlation (R2 = 0.483) with N uptake by turnip. In contrast to that observed with Kjeldahl N, soil inorganic N appeared as an index that can vary greatly over the short term. The hot saline potassium chloride (KCl) extractions gave generally fair results. The poorest, however, were obtained with the ultraviolet absorption of extracts of 0.01 mol L−1 sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) measured at 250- and 260-nm wavelengths.

publication date

  • January 1, 2012