Responses of litter decomposition and nutrient release of Bothriochloa ischaemum to soil petroleum contamination and nitrogen fertilization

  • X. Zhang
  • Z. LiuEmail author
Original Paper


To assess the effects of petroleum contamination or fertilization with nitrogenous fertilizer in contaminated soil on the litter decomposition of Bothriochloa ischaemum, a phytoremediating species, its litter was placed in litterbags and buried in uncontaminated soil, and petroleum-contaminated soil with and without urea fertilization (petroleum concentration: 45 g/kg, the ratio of soil C/N was adjusted to 25:1 after urea fertilization) for a 6-month decomposition experiment at consistent soil moisture and room temperature (20–25 °C). The results indicated that petroleum contamination significantly inhibited the overall decomposition (the turnover period was extended by 44.35%) and nutrient release (the release of P, K and Fe was inhibited, while the release of N and Zn was accelerated) of B. ischaemum litter, while N fertilization significantly intensified the inhibitory effects of petroleum contamination (significantly extended the turnover period of decomposition by 36.71% again and simultaneously inhibited the release of C, N, P and Zn). Consequently, this research suggests that additional measures should be simultaneously used with phytoremediation to alleviate the inhibitory effects of petroleum on B. ischaemum litter decomposition. However, fertilizing the contaminated soil with urea might cause potential disadvantages, and it should not be applied in conjunction with phytoremediation.


Phytoremediation Petroleum contamination Soil biological properties Nitrogen fertilization Litter decomposition 



The authors thank Dr. Nhu Trung Luc for his help in the experiments. This research was supported by the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Yan’an University (YDBK2017-26) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31501342).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shaanxi Engineering and Technological Research Center for Conservation and Utilization of Regional Biological Resources, College of Life SciencesYan’an UniversityYan’anChina
  2. 2.Institute of Soil and Water ConservationNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  3. 3.College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina

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