Journal article

Fertilizer nitrogen use efficiency and fates in maize cropping systems across China: Field N-15 tracer studies

Zhi Quan, Shanlong Li, Xin Zhang, Feifei Zhu, Peipei Li, Rong Sheng, Xin Chen, Li-Mei Zhang, Ji-Zheng He, Wenxue Wei, Yunting Fang



Maize (Zea mays L.) is a staple crop that is grown worldwide. The heavy use of nitrogen (N) fertilizers in maize cropping systems has resulted in low N use efficiency (NUE) and even caused N pollution in some regions of China. To evaluate the environmental impacts of over-fertilization, it is essential to reveal NUE and the fates of the applied N fertilizers, which can be accurately quantified only by the field 15N tracer technique. In this study, we conducted six on-farm 15N tracer experiments with four in Northeast (NE) China where maize is extensively cropped. We combined the results from these field experiments with previous 15N tracer results (most in the North-Central (NC) region) to e..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Awarded by National Key RAMP;D Program of China

Awarded by National Natural Science Foundation of China

Funding Acknowledgements

The work was financially supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences [grant number XDB15020200], the National Key R&D Program of China [grant numbers 2018YFCO213300 and 2016YFD0800103], the National Natural Science Foundation of China [grant numbers 41701309, 41671290, and 41773094], and the CAS Scholarship Fund. We thank Xinghan Zhao from the Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, for reviewing the earlier version of this manuscript.