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Assessment of Nutrient Leaching Losses and Crop Uptake with Organic Fertilization, Water Saving Practices and Reduced Inorganic Fertilizer

Xiaotong Liu1,#, Muhammad Amjad Bashir2,3,#, Yucong Geng4, Qurat-Ul-Ain Raza2, Abdur Rehim2, Muhammad Aon2, Jianhang Luo1, Ying Zhao1, Xuejun Zhang1,*, Hongbin Liu4,*

1 Institute of Agricultural Resources and Environment, Ningxia Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, Yinchuan, 750002, China
2 Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, 60800, Pakistan
3 College of Agriculture, University of Layyah, Layyah, 31200, Pakistan
4 Key Laboratory of Nonpoint Source Pollution Control, Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), Beijing, 100081, China

* Corresponding Authors: Xuejun Zhang. Email: ; Hongbin Liu. Email:

(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Physiological and Molecular Interventions in Improving Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants)

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2023, 92(5), 1555-1570.


The increasing world population has forced excessive chemical fertilizer and irrigation to complete the global food demand, deteriorating the water quality and nutrient losses. Short-term studies do not compile the evidences; therefore, the study aimed to identify the effectiveness of reduced doses of inorganic fertilizer and water-saving practices, hence, a six-year experiment (2015–2020) was conducted in China to address the knowledge gap. The experimental treatments were: farmer accustomed fertilization used as control (525:180:30 kg NPK ha−1), fertilizer decrement (450:150:15 kg NPK ha−1), fertilizer decrement + water-saving irrigation (450:150:15 kg NPK ha−1), application of organic and inorganic fertilizer + water-saving irrigation (375:120:0 kg NPK ha−1 + 4.5 tones organic fertilizer ha−1), and application of controlled-release fertilizer (80:120:15 kg NPK ha−1). Each treatment was replicated thrice following a randomized complete block design. The results achieved herein showed that control has the highest losses in the six-year study for total nitrogen (225.97 mg L−1), total soluble nitrogen (121.58 mg L−1), nitrate nitrogen (0.93 mg L−1), total phosphorus (0.57 mg L−1), and total soluble phosphorus (0.57 mg L−1) respectively. Reduced fertilizer and water application improved crop nutrient uptake, nitrogen concentration was significantly enhanced with organic and inorganic fertilizer + water-saving irrigation, P concentration was increased with fertilizer decrement + water-saving irrigation, and K concentration was improved with fertilizer decrement + water-saving irrigation. Hence, this study concludes that reduced inorganic fertilizer dose combined with water-saving practices is significantly helpful in reducing nutrient leaching losses and improving nutrient uptake and water pollution. Further studies are needed to explore the impacts of reduced fertilization and water-saving irrigation on leaching losses. The benefits at different climatic conditions, soil types, and fertilizer types with application methods are also a research gap.


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Cite This Article

Liu, X., Bashir, M. A., Geng, Y., Raza, Q., Rehim, A. et al. (2023). Assessment of Nutrient Leaching Losses and Crop Uptake with Organic Fertilization, Water Saving Practices and Reduced Inorganic Fertilizer. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 92(5), 1555–1570.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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