Chitosan-Urea Nanocomposite for Improved Fertilizer Applications: The Effect on the Soil Enzymatic Activities and Microflora Dynamics in N Cycle of Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.)

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Kondal, Rohini
Kalia, Anu
Krejcar, Ondrej
Kuca, Kamil
Sharma, Sat Pal
Luthra, Karanvir
Singh Dheri, Gurmeet
Vikal, Yogesh
Sachdeva Taggar, Monica
Abd-Elsalam, Kamel A.
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Gomes, Carmen
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Mechanical Engineering
The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University is where innovation thrives and the impossible is made possible. This is where your passion for problem-solving and hands-on learning can make a real difference in our world. Whether you’re helping improve the environment, creating safer automobiles, or advancing medical technologies, and athletic performance, the Department of Mechanical Engineering gives you the tools and talent to blaze your own trail to an amazing career.
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Food Science and Human Nutrition

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) at Iowa State University is jointly administered by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Human Science. FSHN combines the study and practical application of food sciences and technology with human nutrition in preparation for a variety of fields including: the culinary sciences, dietetics, nutrition, food industries, and diet and exercise.

The department was established in 1991 through the merging of the Department of Food Sciences and Technology (of the College of Agriculture), and the Department of Food and Nutrition (of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences).

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The impact of polymer-based slow-release urea formulations on soil microbial N dynamics in potatoes has been sparingly deciphered. The present study investigated the effect of a biodegradable nano-polymer urea formulation on soil enzymatic activities and microflora involved in the N cycling of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.). The nano-chitosan-urea composite (NCUC) treatment significantly increased the soil dehydrogenase activity, organic carbon content and available potassium compared to the conventional urea (CU) treatment. The soil ammonical nitrogen (NH4+-N) and nitrate nitrogen (NO3−-N) contents and urease activity were significantly decreased in the NCUC-amended soil. The slow urea hydrolysis rate led to low concentrations of NH4+-N and NO3−-N in the tested potato soil. Furthermore, these results corroborate the low count of ammonia oxidizer and nitrate reducer populations. Quantitative PCR (q-PCR) studies revealed that the relative abundance of eubacterial (AOB) and archaeal ammonia-oxidizing (AOA) populations was reduced in the NCUC-treated soil compared to CU. The abundance of AOA was particularly lower than AOB, probably due to the more neutral and alkaline conditions of the tested soil. Our results suggest that the biodegradable polymer urea composite had a significant effect on the microbiota associated with soil N dynamics. Therefore, the developed NCUC could be used as a slow N-release fertilizer for enhanced growth and crop yields of potato.
This article is published as Kondal, Rohini, Anu Kalia, Ondrej Krejcar, Kamil Kuca, Sat Pal Sharma, Karanvir Luthra, Gurmeet Singh Dheri et al. "Chitosan-urea nanocomposite for improved fertilizer applications: The effect on the soil enzymatic activities and microflora dynamics in N cycle of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.)." Polymers 13, no. 17 (2021): 2887. DOI: 10.3390/polym13172887. Copyright 2021 by the authors. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Posted with permission.