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Title: Limitations of bioassays in macronutrient deficiency determination
Contributor(s): Guppy, C (author)orcid ; Menzies, NW (author); Harding, T (author)
Publication Date: 2004
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Abstract: Short-term nutrient bioassays can be used to assess labile nutrient availability in soils. These bioassays rely on a high number of plants and small soil volumes to exploit labile soil resources rapidly and assess potential nutrient deficiency. A comparison of the Neubauer bioassay with conventional pot trial assessment of P and S availability in a Yellow Kurosol was undertaken. Changes in labile soil nutrients and enzyme activity after bioassay assessment were also measured. The Neubauer bioassay was able to detect increased labile P availability following P fertiliser application to the soil. This corresponded with response to added P in a longer-term pot trial using maize. As expected, phosphatase activity increased following the bioassay and labile P was depleted by the plants. However, although a longer-term pot trial demonstrated the Yellow Kurosol was responsive to S fertilisation, labile S pools were sufficiently large that the short-term Neubauer bioassay detected no difference in S availability to plants. Both soil sulphatase activity and labile soil S were elevated following the bioassay. The short period of contact between the roots of the bioassay and the soil may have limited S uptake and therefore the ability of the bioassay to identify a S responsive soil. When using bioassay techniques to assess labile nutrient availability, it is critical that the size of the labile nutrient pool present be considered for each element, and that the period of contact between the bioassay and soil being tested is long enough for plant uptake to lower the nutrient supply to a level that limits further uptake.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: SuperSoil 2004: 3rd Australian New Zealand Soils Conference, Sydney, Australia, 5th - 9th December, 2004
Conference Details: SuperSoil 2004: 3rd Australian New Zealand Soils Conference, Sydney, Australia, 5th - 9th December, 2004
Source of Publication: SuperSoil 2004: 3rd Australian New Zealand Soils Conference Proceedings (Oral Paper 1475), p. 1-5
Publisher: The Regional Institute Ltd
Place of Publication: Gosford, Australia
Field of Research (FOR): 070306 Crop and Pasture Nutrition
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: E1 Refereed Scholarly Conference Publication
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