Long-term nutrient management effects on soil aggregation and C stabilization in Vertisols of Central India

*Article not assigned to an issue yet


Research Articles | Published:

Print ISSN : 0970-4078.
Online ISSN : 2229-4473.
Pub Email: contact@vegetosindia.org
Doi: 10.1007/s42535-022-00539-4
First Page: 0
Last Page: 0
Views: 360

Keywords: Black soils, Nutrient management, Aggregation, Carbon storage, Carbon preservation capacity


Intensive tillage practices have lowered soil organic carbon content and impaired soil physical quality, emphasizing the importance of conservation-oriented activities. We investigated the effects of long-term application of farmyard manure (FYM) or gliricidia, either alone or in combination with NPK, on nitrogen (N) substitution basis on aggregate stability and carbon distribution in different aggregate fractions after 35 years of cotton-greengram intercropping in a cracking clayey Black soil (Vertisols). The results revealed that irrespective of treatments, the fraction of macro-aggregates (> 0.25 mm) was higher than that of micro-aggregates. The partial substitution of N by FYM/Gliricidia in NPK (INM) increased water stable aggregates by roughly 15% compared to control and 6.5% over NPK treatment. The structural indices such as mean weight diameter, geometric mean diameter, and aggregate ratio were highest (0.89, 0.87, and 3.87, respectively) in INM-based treatments. There was a higher organic carbon content in macro-aggregates, particularly in 2.0–1.0 mm aggregate fraction followed by > 2.0 mm, whereas micro-aggregates had the lowest in < 0.10 mm aggregate fraction. The INM-based treatments had higher carbon preservation capacity, particularly in all macro-aggregates fractions, compared to unfertilized control and NPK. Overall, aggregate-associated carbon of all sizes had a substantial positive correlation with macro-aggregates, mean weight diameter, and aggregate ratio but was negatively correlated with micro-aggregates. It is concluded that supplementing Gliricidia/FYM with NPK promotes soil aggregation and increases carbon in macro-aggregates. This will help in sustainable cotton-greengram productivity in the region.

Black soils, Nutrient management, Aggregation, Carbon storage, Carbon preservation capacity

*Get Access

(*Only SPR Members can get full access. Click Here to Apply and get access)



Al-Kaisi MM, Douelle A, Kwaw-Mensah D (2014) Soil microaggregate and macroaggegate decay over time and soil carbon change as influenced by different tillage systems. J Soil Water Conserv 69(6):574–580

Andruschkewitsch R, Koch H, Ludwig B (2014) Effect of long-term tillage treatments on the temporal dynamics of water-stable aggregates and on macro-aggregate turnover at three German sites. Geoderma 64:217–218

Balesdent J, Chenu C, Balabane M (2000) Relationship of soil organic matter dynamics to physical protection and tillage. Soil Tillage Res 53:215–230

Benbi DK, Senapati N (2010) Soil aggregation and carbon and nitrogen stabilization in relation to residue and manure application in rice-wheat systems in northwest India. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 87:233–247. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10705-009-9331-2

Benbi DK, Singh P, Toor AS, Verma G (2016) Manure and fertilizer application effects on aggregate and mineral-associated organic carbon in a loamy soil under rice-wheat system. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 47(15):1828–1844. https://doi.org/10.1080/00103624.2016.1208757

Blanco-Canqui H, Lal R (2004) Mechanisms of carbon sequestration in soil aggregates. Crit Rev Plant Sci 23(6):481–504. https://doi.org/10.1080/07352680490886842

Bronick CJ, Lal R (2005) Soil structure and management: a review. Geodema 124:3–22

Chen Z, Wang H, Liu X, Zhao X, Lu D, Zhou J, Li C (2017) Changes in soil microbial community and organic carbon fractions under short-term straw return in a rice–wheat cropping system. Soil Tillage Res 165:121–127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2016.07.018

Choudhury SG, Srivastava S, Singh R, Chaudhari SK, Sharma DK, Singh SK, Sarkar D (2014) Tillage and residue management effects on soil aggregation, organic carbon dynamics and yield attribute in rice–wheat cropping system under reclaimed sodic soil. Soil Tillage Res 136:76–83

Dick WA, Gregorich EG (2004) Developing and maintaining soil organic matter levels. In: Schjonning P, Elmholt S, Christensen BT (eds) Managing soil quality: challenges in modern agriculture. CABI Publishing, Oxon, pp 103–120

Dou S, Li K, Guan S (2011) A review on organic matter in soil aggregates. Acta Ecol Sin 48(2):412–418

Du ZL, Ren TS, Hu CS, Zhang QZ, Blanco-Canqui H (2013) Soil aggregate stability and aggregate-associated carbon under different tillage systems in the North China Plain. J Integr Agric 12(11):2114–2123. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2095-3119(13)60428-1

Elliott ET (1986) Aggregate structure and carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in native and cultivated soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 50:627–633

Ghosh A, Bhattacharyya R, Meena M, Dwivedi B, Singh G, Agnihotri R, Sharma C (2018) Long-term fertilization effects on soil organic carbon sequestration in an Inceptisol. Soil till Res 177:134–144

Ghosh S, Wilson B, Ghoshal SK, Senapati N, Mandal B (2010) Management of soil quality and carbon sequestration with long-term application of organic amendments. 19th World Congress of Soil Science on 'Soil Solutions for a changing World' from 01–06 August 2010, Brisbane, Australia

Haile SG, Nair PKR, Nair VD (2008) Carbon storage of different soil-size fractions in Florida silvopastoral systems. J Environ Qual 37:1789–1797

Huang S, Peng X, Huang Q, Zhang W (2010) Soil aggregation and organic carbon fractions affected by longterm fertilization in a red soil of subtropical China. Geoderma 154:364–369. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2009.11.009

Jastrow JD (1996) Soil aggregate formation and the accrual of particulate and mineral associated organic matter. Soil Biol Biochem 28:656–676

Jastrow JD, Boutton TW, Miller RM (1996) Carbon dynamics of aggregate-associated organic matter estimated by carbon-13 natural abundance. Soil Sci Soc Am J 60:801–807. https://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj1996.03615995006000030017x

Lal R (2000) World cropland soils as a source or sink for atmospheric C. Adv Agron 71:145–191

Lal R (2015) Restoring soil quality to mitigate soil degradation. Sustainability 7:5875–5895

Lee SB, Lee CH, Jung KY, Park KD, Lee D, Kim PJ (2009) Changes of soil organic carbon and its fractions in relation to soil physical properties in a long-term fertilized paddy. Soil Tillage Res 104:227–232. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2009.02.007

Li ZP, Liu M, Wu XC, Han FX, Zhang TL (2010) Effects of long-term chemical fertilization and organic amendments on dynamics of soil organic C and total N in paddy soil derived from barren land in subtropical China. Soil Tillage Res 106:268–274. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2009.12.008

Li Y, Nie C, Liu Y, Du W, He P (2019) Soil microbial community composition closely associates with specific enzyme activities and soil carbon chemistry in a long-term nitrogen fertilized grassland. Sci Total Environ 654:264–274

Majumder B, Mandal B, Bandyopadhyay PK (2008) Soil organic carbon pools and productivity in relation to nutrient management in a 20-year-old rice-barseem agro-ecosystem. Biol Fert Soils 44:451–461. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-007-0226-6

Mamta SS, Kumar R, Bairwa R, Meena P, Meena MC (2022) Assessment of carbon pools and stability of soil aggregates in inceptisols of indo-gangetic plains as influenced by seven-year continuous tillage practices under maize-based cropping system. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal. https://doi.org/10.1080/00103624.2022.2118298

Martin JP (1971) Decomposition and binding action of polysaccharides in soil. Soil Biol Biochem 3:33

Meena VS, Ghosh BN, Singh RJ, Bhattacharyya R, Sharma NK, Alam NM, Meena SK, Mishra PK (2021) Land use types and topographic position affect soil aggregation and carbon management in the mountain agro-ecosystems of the Indian Himalayas. Land Degrad Dev 32:3992–4003

Meena SK, Dwivedi BS, Meena MC, Datta SP, Singh VK, Mishra RP, Meena VS (2022) Impact of long-term nutrient supply options on soil aggregate stability after nineteen years of rice-wheat cropping system. Land 11(9):1465

Mert ACAR, Celik I, Günal H (2018) Effects of long-term tillage systems on aggregate-associated organic carbon in the eastern Mediterranean region of Turkey. Eur J Soil Sci 7(1):51–58

Mikha MM, Rice CW (2004) Tillage and manure effects on soil and aggregate-associated carbon and nitrogen. Soil Sci Soc Am J 68:809–816

Morugán-Coronado A, Linares C, Gómez-López MD, Faz A, Zornoza R (2020) The impact of intercropping, tillage and fertilizer type on soil and crop yield in fruit orchards under Mediterranean conditions: a meta-analysis of field studies. Agric Syst 178:102736

Nandan R, Singh V, Singh SS, Kumar V, Hazra KK, Nath CP, Poonia S, Malik RK, Bhattacharyya R, McDonald A (2019) Impact of conservation tillage in rice–based cropping systems on soil aggregation, carbon pools and nutrients. Geoderma 340:104–114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2019.01.001

Oades JM, Waters AG (1991) Aggregate hierarchy in soils. Soil Res 29(6):815–828

Pan GX, Zhao QG (2005) Study on evolution of organic carbon stock in agricultural soils of China: facing the challenge of global change and food security. Adv Earth Sci 20(4):327–337

Puget P, Chenu C, Balesdent J (1995) Total and young organic matter distributions in aggregates of silty cultivated soils. Eur J Soil Sci 46:449–459

R Core Team (2019) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. URL. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. https://www.R-project.org

Schjonning P, Munkholm LJ, Elmholt S (2006) Crop rotation and animal manure effects on soil. I. Organic carbon and tilth formation. Summary 7750: Organic eprints. http://orgprints.org/7750/.3

Singh G, Jalota SK, Singh Y (2007) Manuring and residue management effects on physical properties of a soil under the rice–wheat system in Punjab, India. Soil Tillage Res 94:229–238. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2006.07.020

Singh CJ, Thind HS, Manchanda JS, Kansal BD (2009) Effect of coal fly ash on crop yield and soil health under cotton–wheat cropping sequence. Environ Ecol 27:519–523

Six J, Jastrow JD (2002) Soil organic matter turnover. In: Lal R (ed) Encyclopedia of soil science. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 936–942

Six J, Callewaert P, Lenders S, De Gryze S, Morris SJ, Gregorich EG, Paul EA, Paustian K (2002a) Measuring and understanding carbon storage in afforested soils by physical fractionation. Soil Sci Soc Am J 66(6):1981–1987. https://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2002.1981

Six J, Conant RT, Paul EA, Paustian K (2002b) Stabilization mechanisms of soil organic matter: implications for C-saturation of soils. Plant Soil 241:155–176. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1016125726789

Sodhi GPS, Beri V, Benbi DK (2009) Soil aggregation and distribution of carbon and nitrogen in different fractions under long-term application of compost in rice–wheat system. Soil Tillage Res 103:412–118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.still.2008.12.005

Tisdall JM, Oades JM (1982) Organic matter and water-stable aggregates in soils. J Soil Sci 33:141–163

von Lützow M, Kögel-Knabner I, Ekschmitt K, Flessa H, Guggenberger G, Matzner E, Marschner B (2007) SOM fractionation methods: relevance to functional pools and to stabilization mechanisms. Soil Biol Biochem 39:2183–2207. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2007.03.007

Walkley A, Black CA (1934) An examination of wet acid method for determining soil organic matter and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Sci 37(1):29–38. https://doi.org/10.1097/00010694-193401000-00003

Whalen JK, Hu Q, Liu A (2003) Manure application improves aggregate stability in conventional and no-tillage system. Soil Sci Soc Am J 67:1842–1847. https://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2003.1842

Xin SHU, Zhuan ZJB, Yang WL, Xin XL, Zhang XF (2015) Changes in soil organic carbon and aggregate stability after conversion to conservation tillage for seven years in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain of China. J Integr Agric 14(6):1202–1211

Yang C, Yang L, Ouyang Z (2005) Organic carbon and its fractions in paddy soil as affected by different nutrient and water regimes. Geoderma 124:133–142

Yoder RE (1936) A direct method of aggregate analysis of soils and a study of the physical nature of erosion losses. J Am Soc Agron 28:337–351. https://doi.org/10.2134/agronj1936.00021962002800050001x

Six J, Paustian K, Elliott ET, Combrick C (2000) Soil structure and organic matter: I. Distribution of aggregate size classes and aggregate-associated carbon. Soil Sci Soc Am J 64:681–689. https://doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2000.642681x



This study was conducted under the aegis of the “All India Coordinated Research Project for Dryland Agriculture (AICRPDA) ”, Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola, Maharashtra. The authors thank the ICAR- Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad (Telangana), for funding the project.

Author Information

Ramteke Pratik
Akola, India
Gabhane V. V.
Akola, India