Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 259–269 | Cite as

Organic nitrogen components in soils from southeast China

  • Xian-you Chen
  • Liang-huan Wu
  • Xiao-chuang Cao
  • Yuan-hong Zhu



To investigate the amounts of extractable organic nitrogen (EON), and the relationships between EON and total extractable nitrogen (TEN), especially the amino acids (AAs) adsorbed by soils, and a series of other hydrolyzed soil nitrogen indices in typical land use soil types from southeast China. Under traditional agricultural planting conditions, the functions of EON, especially AAs in the rhizosphere and in bulk soil zones were also investigated.


Pot experiments were conducted using plants of pakchoi (Brassica chinensis L.) and rice (Oryza sativa L.). In the rhizosphere and bulk soil zone studies, organic nitrogen components were extracted with either distilled water, 0.5 mol/L K2SO4 or acid hydrolysis.


K2SO4-EON constituted more than 30% of TEN pools. K2SO4-extractable AAs accounted for 25% of EON pools and nearly 10% of TEN pools in rhizosphere soils. Overall, both K2SO4-EON and extractable AAs contents had positive correlations with TEN pools.


EON represented a major component of TEN pools in garden and paddy soils under traditional planting conditions. Although only a small proportion of the EON was present in the form of water-extractable and K2SO4-extractable AAs, the release of AAs from soil exchangeable sites might be an important source of organic nitrogen (N) for plant growth. Our findings suggest that the content of most organic forms of N was significantly greater in rhizosphere than in bulk soil zone samples. However, it was also apparent that the TEN pool content was lower in rhizosphere than in bulk soil samples without added N.

Key words

Extractable organic nitrogen Amino acids Rhizosphere Bulk soil 

CLC number



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Copyright information

© Zhejiang University and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xian-you Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Liang-huan Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiao-chuang Cao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuan-hong Zhu
    • 3
  1. 1.Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Environmental Remediation and Ecosystem Health, College of Environmental and Resource SciencesZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Subtropical Soil and Plant Nutrition, College of Environmental and Resource SciencesZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of Crop and Soil Sciencesthe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park, PennsylvaniaUSA

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