Deciphering the role of particulate organic matter in soil nitrogen transformation in rice–rapeseed and rice–wheat rotation systems

Document Type


Publication Date



Crop rotation affects the decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM) and thereby alter the composition of SOM fractions. It remains unclear how different SOM fractions impact soil nitrogen (N) transformation in various rotation systems. The aim of this study was to ascertain the role of particulate organic matter (POM)-a labile SOM fraction-in soil N transformation under various crop rotations. A paired plot experiment was conducted under two common cropping patterns, i.e., rice–rapeseed rotation (RR) vs. rice–wheat rotation (RW). Soil chemical composition and organic matter fraction before rice transplanting were compared between RR and RW systems after four years of crop rotations (2017–2021). With the same N inputs, the rice yield and N uptake under RR were 16.4 % and 13.2 % higher than those under RW, respectively. Compared with RW, RR resulted in higher carbon (C) and N contents in soil POM, despite minimal differences in total SOM. A larger potentially mineralizable N pool and a higher N mineralization rate occurred under RR than under RW, based on the results of soil net mineralization experiment. When POM was incubated alone, its contribution to potentially mineralizable N was 65.1 % and 61.3 % in RR and RW soils, respectively. Infrared spectroscopy revealed that in contrast with RW, RR promoted the accumulation of organic matter with high bioavailability (e.g., amides, carbohydrates, polysaccharides) in soil POM. This might be responsible for the higher gross mineralization and nitrification rates but lower gross immobilization rate under RR than under RW. Consequently, RR not only increased the contents of POMC and POMN but also improved the quality of POM fraction in soils. Findings of the present study demonstrate that POM plays a distinct role in soil N mineralization in various rotation systems. The discrepancy in POM content and composition resulting from various crop rotations leads to differences in soil N mineralization, which in turn affects the N supply and rice yield.

Publication Title

Applied Soil Ecology



This document is currently not available here.