Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 10, Issue 1,2012
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Natural 15N abundance of tomato and soil amended with urea and compost


Wei Zhou 1, 2, Chunsheng Hu 1*, Ji Li 3, Peter Christie 3, 4, Xiaotang Ju 3

Recieved Date: 2011-09-24, Accepted Date: 2012-01-12


We investigated whether organic compost and urea produce specific δ15N signals in soil and tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Pinguan) under intensive management in greenhouse conditions. Urea (U) and compost (C) were applied to the soil separately (U or C) or together (CU) during crop growth to give a total application rate of N 800 kg ha-1 in all three treatments. Plant parts (roots, leaves, stems and fruits) and soil samples were taken at the seedling, fruit expansion and mature stages. The results indicate that all three fertilization practices produced significant d15N differences in soil and plant tissues. The concentration of δ15N in plant tissues was in the order C>CU>U, and d15N in soil followed the trend C>CU≅U. At maturity the δ15N values in plants averaged 17.8±0.4 ‰, 10.0±0.6 ‰, and 5.9±0.4 ‰ (n=3) under C, CU, and U treatments, indicating that δ15N of plant and its tissues can reflect compost or chemical N source in long-term fertilizer history. Although we found that plant assimilation N, reallocation N, plant age and N loss in the soil exerted effects on the 15N discrimination of the different plant parts during growth, the two amendments (urea and compost) influenced the final tissue δ15N of the plants. Moreover, it was possible to distinguish between crops to which urea or compost was applied on the basis of the δ15N of the plant parts and it was a good method to distinguish organic and commercial food.


Tomato, soil, natural δ15N, growth stage, urea, compost, tissue, long-term fertilization

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2012
Volume: 10
Issue: 1
Category: Agriculture
Pages: 287-293

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