Rotation and Organic Fertilizers Stabilize Soil Water-Stable Aggregates and Their Associated Carbon and Nitrogen in Flue-Cured Tobacco Production

  • Yanjie Chen
  • Ke Ren
  • Jiaen Su
  • Xian He
  • Gaokun Zhao
  • Binbin Hu
  • Yi Chen
  • Zhaoli Xu
  • Yan Jin
  • Congming ZouEmail author
Original Paper


Long-term mono-cropping and excessive chemical fertilizer application reduce water-stable soil aggregate stability and soil N and C stocks in tobacco production. This study tested the hypothesis that rotation and fertilizer type affected the proportion of water-stable aggregates and aggregate-associated soil organic carbon (SOC) and total soil nitrogen (TSN) concentrations. Two planting systems (tobacco mono-cropping and tobacco-maize rotation) with five fertilizer treatments (0 and 75 kg N ha−1, 450 kg oil cake + 75 kg N ha−1, 15,000 kg farmyard manure + 60 kg N ha−1, and 3000 kg straw + 75 kg N ha−1) were established in 2007. After 10 years, rotation and fertilizer type significantly affected soil aggregates and associated SOC and TSN at different soil depths. Rotation significantly increased mean weight diameter (MWD) and geometric mean diameter (GMD); GMD increased with increasing soil depth. Rotation and organic fertilizer effectively increased the proportion of large macro-aggregates and MWD and GMD, while significantly reducing the proportion of micro-aggregates. The effect of fertilization type and rotation on the SOC content of large macro-aggregates was more obvious than that on TSN content, but there was no significant effect on SOC and TSN contents of aggregates < 250 μm. Rotation and organic fertilizer significantly increased SOC stock and total nitrogen of soil macro-aggregates (> 250 μm). However, this trend weakened with increasing soil depth and decreasing aggregate size. Rotation and organic fertilizers used in tobacco production stabilized the proportion of macro-aggregates in surface soil and maintained SOC and TSN better.


Flue-cured tobacco Rotation Organic fertilizer Water-stable aggregate Yunnan 



Soil organic carbon


Total soil nitrogen


Bulk density


Mean weight diameter


Geometric mean diameter


Soil organic matter


Soil organic carbon stock


Total soil nitrogen stock



The authors are thankful to Mark Coyne for his valuable assistance and advice in the preparation of this paper. This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41601330), Yunnan Science and Technology Innovation Project (Congming Zou [2019HB068]), Yunnan Ten Thousand People Program (Congming Zou [2018]73), Yunnan Applied Basic Research Projects (No.2017FB074).

Contribution Statement

Conceptualization, Congming Zou, Yi Chen, Zhaoli Xu and Yan Jin; Methodology, Jiaen Su, Gaokun Zhao and Binbin Hu; Formal Analysis, Xian He, Ke Ren; Writing, Yanjie Chen, Ke Ren and Congming Zou.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Competing Interest Statement

Yanjie Chen, Ke Ren, and other co-authors have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Sociedad Chilena de la Ciencia del Suelo 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanjie Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ke Ren
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jiaen Su
    • 1
  • Xian He
    • 1
    • 3
  • Gaokun Zhao
    • 1
  • Binbin Hu
    • 1
  • Yi Chen
    • 1
  • Zhaoli Xu
    • 1
  • Yan Jin
    • 1
  • Congming Zou
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Yunnan Academy of Tobacco Agricultural SciencesKunmingChina
  2. 2.College of Tobacco ScienceYunnan Agricultural UniversityKunmingChina
  3. 3.College of Agronomy and BiotechnologySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina

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