• urea;
  • ammonium;
  • nitrate;
  • mixed nitrogen forms;
  • plant growth;
  • mineral nutrition


BACKGROUND: The presence of stable mixed nitrogen forms (such as nitrate/ammonium/urea or nitrate/urea) in the soil solution is due to the use of nitrification and/or urease inhibitors in urea-based fertilisers. However, there is no specific information in the literature comparing the efficiency of these urea mixed nitrogen forms as a nitrogen source for plants with that of nitrate and ammonium/nitrate. The aim of this study was to compare the effects on plant growth and mineral nutrition of different nitrogen forms, including mixed nitrogen forms containing urea.

RESULTS: The results indicated that for both wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) the growth of plants fed mixed nitrogen forms containing urea was generally similar to that of plants receiving nitrate and nitrate/ammonium. Only in the case of pepper did ammonium/urea nutrition cause a significant decrease in plant growth. The presence of nitrate corrected the negative effects of mixed nitrogen forms containing ammonium and/or urea on the growth of pepper plants.

CONCLUSION: Mixed nitrogen forms containing urea did not cause any negative effect on plant growth or mineral nutrition. In fact, plants fed mixed nitrogen forms containing urea had higher shoot concentrations of potassium, phosphorus, iron and boron than plants receiving nitrate. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry