Effect of Applying Struvite and Organic N as Recovered Fertilizers on the Rhizosphere Dynamics and Cultivation of Lupine (Lupinus angustifolius)

Ana A. Robles-Aguilar, Oliver Grunert, Emma Hernandez-Sanabria, Mohamed Mysara Ahmed, Erik Meers, Nico Boon, Nicolai D. Jablonowski

    Research outputpeer-review


    Intensive agriculture and horticulture heavily rely on the input of fertilizers to sustain food (and feed) production. However, high carbon footprint and pollution are associated with the mining processes of P and K, and the artificial nitrogen fixation for the production of synthetic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers or recovered nutrients from different waste sources can be used to reduce the environmental impact of fertilizers. We tested two recovered nutrients with slow-release patterns as promising alternatives for synthetic fertilizers: struvite and a commercially available organic fertilizer. Using these fertilizers as a nitrogen source, we conducted a rhizotron experiment to test their effect on plant performance and nutrient recovery in lupine plants. Plant performance was not affected by the fertilizer applied; however, N recovery was higher from the organic fertilizer than from struvite. As root architecture is fundamental for plant productivity, variations in root structure and length as a result of soil nutrient availability driven by plant–bacteria interactions were compared showing also no differences between fertilizers. However, fertilized plants were considerably different in the root length and morphology compared with the no fertilized plants. Since the microbial community influences plant nitrogen availability, we characterized the root-associated microbial community structure and functionality. Analyses revealed that the fertilizer applied had a significant impact on the associations and functionality of the bacteria inhabiting the growing medium used. The type of fertilizer significantly influenced the interindividual dissimilarities in the most abundant genera between treatments. This means that different plant species have a distinct effect on modulating the associated microbial community, but in the case of lupine, the fertilizer had a bigger effect than the plant itself. These novel insights on interactions between recovered fertilizers, plant, and associated microbes can contribute to developing sustainable crop production systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number572741
    Pages (from-to)1-17
    Number of pages17
    JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
    StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020

    Cite this