Minéralisation et prélèvement direct de l'azote organique dans les cultures légumières biologiques en serre

Authors: Dion, Pierre-Paul
Advisor: Dorais, MartinePépin, Steeve
Abstract: Because of the complexity of the nitrogen (N) cycle and the diversity of its molecule forms in the soil, N fertilization management is based on complex calculations and considerations. For organic farming, N is provided via organic amendments and biological fixation. However, lack of precise tools that predict the N mineralization rate of N sources leads some producers to over-fertilize, resulting in the buildup of salinity, N leaching and possible loss of profits. Consequently, better knowledge of N availability following organic fertilization, to improve synchronization of N supply with crop N demand, is crucial to advance sustainable organic horticulture. In addition, the capacity of plants to take up N directly as organic molecules is seldom considered in agriculture and could be higher than previously thought, contributing significantly to the plant’s N budget. The objectives of this thesis were to: (1) evaluate the mineralization rates from organic fertilizers commonly used in greenhouse vegetable horticulture in Quebec; (2) study the impact of different fertilizer sources on soil bacterial diversity; (3) study the capacity of cucumber plants to take up and assimilate N directly as organic molecules; and (4) develop and validate a N management tool for organic fertilization. An incubation experiment with five organic fertilizers commonly used in organic greenhouse horticulture was performed. Nitrogen mineralization plateaued for a mineral soil and a peat substrate at respectively 41 and 63% of applied N for pelleted poultry manure, 56-93% for blood meal, 54-81% for feather meal, 34-53% for alfalfa meal, and 57-73% for shrimp meal. Organic fertilizers supported markedly contrasted bacterial communities, closely linked to soil biochemical properties, especially mineral N, pH and soluble C. Alfalfa meal promoted the highest alpha diversity (Shannon index) in the mineral soil, whereas shrimp meal and pelleted poultry manure increased it in the peat-based growing medium. Based on those results, we adapted the NLOS model to organic greenhouse horticulture and developed the new model NLOS-OG. This tool was validated in commercial and experimental greenhouses. It yielded a satisfying prediction of mineral N availability in a greenhouse crop grown in native mineral soil, and for the cumulative mineralization of fertilizers applied in a soil or organic substrate. However, further research should focus on water dynamics in containerized organic crops in order to achieve a precise prediction of N availability in that cropping system. A free web interface for NLOS-OG is now available for agronomists and growers (https://exchange. iseesystems.com/public/pierrepauldion/nlos-og/).In a greenhouse experiment, the C and N content of soil solution was positively linked to the xylem sap C and N content of mature cucumber plants and appeared to contribute to the accumulation of soluble solids in cucumber fruits, suggesting uptake and transfer of soil soluble organic N and C to the shoot and fruits. In a second experiment, in a growth chamber, young cucumber plants were exposed to 13C- and 15N-labelled alanine. By combining two methods, i.e., the use of Position-specific labelling (PSL) of alanine and Compound-specific isotopic analysis (CSIA) of free amino acids, we developed a novel approach allowing the study of the mechanism of the assimilatory metabolism of an amino acid taken up by the roots. We demonstrated that their roots can take up and assimilate N as organic molecules, although they showed a preference for inorganic N forms (nitrate and ammonium). The scientific contributions from this doctoral study are: (1) a better knowledge of the nitrogen release from nitrogen organic fertilizers; (2) the integration of mineralization rates into a N management tool adapted to organic greenhouse horticulture; and (3) a better understanding of the uptake and assimilation of organic N by cucumber plants. This knowledge will contribute to a better planning of N fertilization based on organic matter, thus increasing the sustainability of organic greenhouse horticulture.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 23 January 2020
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/37893
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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