Skip to main content Accessibility help

Effect of balanced fertilizers on soil quality and lentil yield in Gangetic alluvial soils of India

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 April 2018

S. R. Singh
ICAR-Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibres, Barrackpore, Kolkata 700120, India
D. K. Kundu
ICAR-Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibres, Barrackpore, Kolkata 700120, India
P. Dey
ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil Science, Nabibagh, Berasia Road, Bhopal 462038, India
Pushpa Singh
ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Raibareilly Road, Lucknow 226002, India
B. S. Mahapatra
ICAR-Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibres, Barrackpore, Kolkata 700120, India
E-mail address:


Declining pulse production has caused wide concern in recent years. A field experiment was conducted to investigate effects of balance fertilizers based on soil test values and targeted yield equations on soil biological activities, soil quality, nutrient acquisition and grain yield of lentil. Treatments included the use of farmyard manure (FYM), bio-inoculants and inorganic fertilizers at different rates and combinations. The results revealed significant improvement in nodulation, microbial counts, microbial biomass carbon (MBC), soil respiration, soil enzymes and soil organic carbon (SOC) with integrated approaches (i.e. fertilizer plus FYM or bio-inoculants); these improvements led to achievement of the specific target yield of 1.50 t/ha. Although the highest yield was achieved with fertilizers applied for a target yield of 2.0 t/ha, there was significant decline in nodulation, microbial counts, MBC, soil respiration, soil enzymes, SOC and soil quality. Correlation between soil quality index (SQI) and grain yield suggested a significant influence of balanced fertilization based on soil tests and target yield. Principal component analysis revealed the average contribution of soil quality indicators towards SQI was in descending order of SOC > acid phosphatase activity > total culturable fungi > available phosphorus > BMC, which are crucial for sustainable lentil production in alluvial soils.

Crops and Soils Research Paper
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.


Abbeddou, S, et al. (2011) Nutritional composition of lentil straw, vetch hay, olive leaves and saltbush leaves and their digestibility as measured in fat-tailed sheep. Small Ruminant Research 96, 126135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ai, C, et al. (2012) Responses of extracellular enzyme activities and microbial community in both the rhizosphere and bulk soil to long term fertilization practices in a fluvo-aquic soil. Geoderma 173–174, 330338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ali, M and Gupta, S (2012) Carrying capacity of Indian agriculture: pulse crops. Current Science 102, 874881.Google Scholar
Anderson, JPE (1982) Soil respiration. In Page, AL, Miller, RH and Keeney, DR (eds). Methods of Soil Analysis, Part 2. Madison, WI: ASA, SSSA, pp. 831871.Google Scholar
Andrews, M, et al. (1992) Nitrate effects on leaf growth of grain legumes prior to nodulation: species differences relate to nitrate uptake. In Ramsay, G and Middlefell-Williams, JE (eds). Proceedings of the 1st European Conference on Grain Legumes. Paris, France: L'Union Nationale Interprofessionnelle des Plantes Riches en Proteins, pp. 139140.Google Scholar
Andrews, SS, et al. (2002 a) On farm assessment of soil quality in California's central valley. Agronomy Journal 94, 1223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Andrews, SS, Karlen, DL and Mitchell, JP (2002 b) A comparison of soil quality indexing methods for vegetable production systems in Northern California. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 90, 2545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Chemists) (1999) Official Methods of Analysis, 16th edn. Gaithersburg, Maryland: Association of Official Analytical Chemists.Google Scholar
Basu, TK and Bansyopadhyay, S (1990) Effect of Rhizobium inoculation and nitrogen application on some yields attributes of mung. Environment and Ecology 8, 650654.Google Scholar
Bera, R, et al. (2006) Targeted yield concept and a framework of fertilizers recommendation in irrigated rice domains of subtropical India. Journal of Zhejiang University Science B7, 963968.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bremer, E, van Kessel, C and Karamanos, R (1989) Inoculant, phosphorus and nitrogen responses of lentil. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 69, 691701.Google Scholar
Chang, E-H, Chung, RS and Tsai, YW (2007) Effect of different application rates of organic fertilizer on soil enzyme activity and microbial population. Soil Science & Plant Nutrition 53, 132140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chen, XP, et al. (2010) Optimizing soil nitrogen supply in the root zone to improve maize management. Soil Science Society of America Journal 74, 13671373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chinnadurai, C, Gopalaswamy, G and Balachandar, D (2014) Long term effects of nutrient management regimes on abundance of bacterial genes and soil biochemical processes for fertility sustainability in a semi-arid tropical Alfisol. Geoderma 232–243, 563752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chivenge, P, Vanlauwe, B and Six, J (2011) Does the combined application of organic and mineral nutrient sources influence maize productivity? A meta-analysis. Plant and Soil 342, 130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Choudhary, HR, et al. (2011) Effect of organic sources and chemical fertilizers on productivity of mungbean. Journal of Food Legumes 24, 324326.Google Scholar
Cochran, WG and Cox, GM (1957) Experimental Designs, 2nd edn. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
Contesto, C, et al. (2008) Effects of rhizobacterial ACC deaminase activity on Arabidopsis indicate that ethylene mediates local root responses to plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria. Plant Science 175, 178189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cui, ZL, et al. (2010) In-season nitrogen management strategy for winter wheat: maximizing yields, minimizing environment impact in an over-fertilization context. Field Crops Research 116, 140146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Daterao, SH, et al. (1990) Effect of Rhizobium seed inoculation of green gram with and without molybdenum on grain yield and nitrogen status of soil. PKV Research Journal 14, 7577.Google Scholar
Dhull, S, et al. (2004) Microbial biomass carbon and microbial activities of soils receiving chemical fertilizers and organic amendments. Archive of Agronomy and Soil Science 50, 641647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Doran, JW and Parkin, TB (1994) Defining and assessing soil quality. In Doran, JW, Coleman, DC, Bezdicek, DF and Stewart, BA (eds). Defining Soil Quality for A Sustainable Environment. Special Publication No. 35. Madison, WI: SSSA, pp. 321.Google Scholar
Egamberdiyeva, D (2005) Plant-growth-promoting rhizobacte-ria isolated from a Calcisol in a semi-arid region of Uzbekistan: biochemical characterization and effectiveness. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 168, 9499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Elfstrand, S, Hedlund, K and Martensson, A (2007) Soil enzyme activities, microbial community composition and function after 47 years of continuous green manuring. Applied Soil Ecology 35, 610621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ellouze, W, et al. (2014) Soil fungal resources in annual cropping systems and their potential for management. BioMed Research International 2014, 115, Article ID 531824. doi: 10.1155/2014/531824.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Erskine, W, Muehlbaure, FJ and Short, RW (1990) Stages of development in lentil. Experimental Agriculture 26, 297302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
FAOSTAT (2016) Agricultural Data: Agriculture and Food Trade. Rome, Italy: FAO. Available at (Accessed 20 February 2018).Google Scholar
Gan, Y, et al. (2009) Adaptability of chickpea in northern high latitude areas – maturity responses. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 149, 711720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Geisseler, D and Horwath, WR (2009) Relationship between carbon and nitrogen availability and extracellular enzyme activities in soil. Pedobiologia 53, 8798.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gregorich, EG, Drury, CF and Baldock, JA (2001) Changes in soil carbon under long-term maize in monoculture and legume-based rotation. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 81, 2131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gull, M, et al. (2004) Phosphorus uptake and growth promotion of chickpea by co-inoculation of mineral phosphate solubilization bacteria and a mixed culture. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 44, 623628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
He, P, et al. (2009) Performance of an optimized nutrient management system for double-cropped wheat-maize rotations in north-central China. Agronomy Journal 101, 14891496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoque, MM and Haq, MF (1994) Rhizobium inoculation and fertilization of lentil in Bangladesh. LENS Newsletter 21, 2930.Google Scholar
Hussain, I, et al. (1999) Adaptation of soil quality indices and application to three tillage systems in southern Illinois. Soil and Tillage Research 50, 237249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Iqbal, MA, et al. (2016) Integrated use of Rhizobium leguminosarum, plant growth promoting rhizobacteria and enriched compost for improving growth, nodulation and yield of lentil (Lens culinaris medik.). Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research 72, 104110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jackson, ML (1973) Soil Chemical Analysis. New Delhi, India: Prentice Hall of India Pvt., Ltd.Google Scholar
Kanazawa, S, Asakawa, S and Takai, Y (1988) Effect of fertilizer and manure application on microbial numbers, biomass and enzymes activities in volcanic ash soils. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 34, 429439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Körschens, M, et al. (2013) Effect of mineral and organic fertilization on crop yield, nitrogen uptake, carbon and nitrogen balances, as well as soil organic carbon content and dynamics: results from 20 European long-term field experiments of the twenty-first century. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science 59, 10171040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kumar, S, et al. (2013) Balanced fertilization along with farmyard manures enhances abundance of microbial groups and their resistance and resilience against heat stress in a semi-arid inceptisol. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 44, 22992313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kundu, R, Mandal, J and Majumder, A (2013) Growth and production potential of green gram (Vigna radiata). influenced by Rhizobium inoculation with different nutrient sources. International Journal of Agriculture, Environment and Biotechnology 6, 344350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kutschera, L (1960) Wurzelatlasmitteleuropaischer Ackerunkrauter und Kulturpflanzen. Frankfurt, Germany: DLG-Verlags-GmbH.Google Scholar
Ladha, JK, et al. (2011) Role of nitrogen fertilization in sustaining organic matter in cultivated soils. Journal of Environmental Quality 40, 17561766.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lavanya, GR and Toms, B (2009) Association and interrelationship among yield contributing characters in mungbean. Journal of Food Legumes 22, 6567.Google Scholar
Li, J, et al. (2008) Effects of long-term combined application of organic and mineral fertilizers on microbial biomass, soil enzyme activities and soil fertility. March 2008. Agricultural Sciences in China 7, 336343.Google Scholar
Martin, JP (1950) Use of acid, rose bengal and streptomycin in the plate method for estimating soil fungi. Soil Science 69, 215232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Marzluf, GA (1997) Genetic regulation of nitrogen metabolism in the fungi. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews 61, 1732.Google ScholarPubMed
Matus, A, et al. (1997) The influence of tillage and crop rotation on nitrogen fixation in lentil and pea. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 77, 197200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nleya, T, Walley, F and Vandenberg, A (2001) Response of four common bean cultivars to granular inoculant in a short season dryland production system. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 81, 385390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Olsen, SR, et al. (1954) Estimation of Available Phosphorus in Soils by Extraction with Sodium Bicarbonate. United States Department of Agriculture Circular no. 939. Washington DC: USDA.Google Scholar
Omar, SA and Ismail, MA (1999) Microbial populations, ammonification and nitrification in soil treated with urea and inorganic salts. Folia Microbiologica 44, 205212.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Parkinson, D, Gray, TRG and Williams, ST (1971) Methods for Studying the Ecology of Soil Microorganisms. International Biological Programme Handbook 19. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Scientist Publications.Google Scholar
Pikovskaya, AI (1948) Mobilization of phosphorus in soil in connection with vital activity of some microbial species. Microbiology 17, 362370.Google Scholar
Qi, YB, et al. (2009) Evaluating soil quality indices in an agricultural region of Jiangsu Province, China. Geoderma 149, 325334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ramamoorthy, B and Velayutham, M (1971) Soil Test Crop Response Correlation Work in India. World Soil Resources Report No. 41: 96-105, Rome, Italy: FAO.Google Scholar
Ramamurthy, V, et al. (2009) Soil-based fertilizer recommendations for precision farming. Current Science 97, 641647.Google Scholar
Rezaei, SA, Gilkes, RJ and Andrews, SS (2006) A minimum data set for assessing soil quality in rangelands. Geoderma 136, 229234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robertson, GP and Groffman, PM (2015) Nitrogen transformations. In Paul, EA (ed.). Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th edn. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Elsevier, pp. 421446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sarkar, GK, et al. (2014) Depletion of soil potassium under exhaustive cropping in Inceptisols and Alfisols. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 45, 6172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schneider, K and Anderson, L (2010) Yield Gap and Productivity Potential in Ethiopian Agriculture: Staple Grains & Pulses. EPAR Brief No. 98. Seattle, WA: Evans School Policy Analysis and Research (EPAR), University of Washington.Google Scholar
Schnurer, J and Rosswall, T (1982) Fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis as a measure of total microbial activity in soil and litter. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 43, 12561261.Google ScholarPubMed
Schoenholtz, SH, Van Miegroet, H and Burger, JA (2000) A review of chemical and physical properties as indicators of forest soil quality: challenges and opportunities. Forest Ecology and Management 138, 335356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shahzad, SM, et al. (2008) Integrated use of plant growth promoting bacteria and p-enriched compost for improving growth, yield and nodulation of chickpea. Pakistan Journal of Botany 40, 1735–1441.Google Scholar
Singh, HP, et al. (1998) Prospects of Indian agriculture with special reference to nutrient management under rainfed systems. In Swarup, A, Damodar Reddy, D and Prasad, RN (eds). Long Term Soil Fertility Management Through Integrated Plant Nutrient Supply. Bhopal, India: Indian Institute of Soil Science, pp. 3454.Google Scholar
Singh, SR, et al. (2015) Impact of balanced fertilization on nutrient acquisition, fibre yield of jute and soil quality in New Gangetic alluvial soils of India. Applied Soil Ecology 92, 2434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Singh, SR, et al. (2017) Identification of minimum data set under balanced fertilization for sustainable rice production and maintaining soil quality in alluvial soils of Eastern India. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 48, 21702192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Soil Survey Staff (1998) Keys to Soil Taxonomy, 8th edn. Washington DC: USDA National Conservation Service.Google Scholar
Srinivasrao, C, et al. (2012) Long-term effects of soil fertility management on carbon sequestration in a rice–lentil cropping system of the Indo-Gangetic Plains. Soil Science Society of America Journal 76, 168178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stark, C, et al. (2007) Influence of organic and mineral amendments on microbial soil properties and processes. Applied Soil Ecology 35, 7993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Subbiah, BV and Asija, GL (1956) A rapid procedure for estimation of available nitrogen in soils. Current Science 25, 259260.Google Scholar
Tabatabai, MA (1982) Soil enzymes. In Page, AL, Miller, RH and Keeney, DR (eds). Methods of Soil Analysis Part 2: Chemical and Microbiological Properties. New York: Academic Press, pp. 903947.Google Scholar
Tabatabai, MA and Bremner, JM (1969) Use of p-nitrophenyl phosphate for assay of soil phosphatase activity. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 1, 301307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vance, ED, Brookes, PC and Jenkinson, DS (1987) An extraction method for measuring soil microbial biomass C. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 19, 703707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walkley, A and Black, CA (1934) An examination of Degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Science 37, 2938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wander, MM and Bollero, GA (1999) Soil quality assessment of tillage impacts in Illinois. Soil Science Society of America Journal 63, 961971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wold, S, Esbensen, K and Geladi, P (1987) Principal component analysis. Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems 2, 3752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yang, JY, et al. (2007) Residual soil nitrogen in soil landscapes of Canada as affected by land use practices and agricultural policy scenarios. Land Use Policy 24, 8999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yang, L, et al. (2008) Fertilization regulates soil enzymatic activity and fertility dynamics in a cucumber field. Scientia Horticulturae 116, 2126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zafar, M, et al. (2012) Effect of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria on growth, nodulation and nutrient accumulation of lentil under controlled conditions. Pedosphere 22, 848859.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zhong, WH and Cai, ZC (2007) Long-term effects of inorganic fertilizers on microbial biomass and community functional diversity in a paddy soil derived from quaternary red clay. Applied Soil Ecology 36, 8491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 57
Total number of PDF views: 77 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 10th April 2018 - 16th January 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Hostname: page-component-77fc7d77f9-wd6lz Total loading time: 0.378 Render date: 2021-01-16T19:00:15.383Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags last update: Sat Jan 16 2021 18:51:55 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time) Feature Flags: { "metrics": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "peerReview": true, "crossMark": true, "comments": true, "relatedCommentaries": true, "subject": true, "clr": true, "languageSwitch": true, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Effect of balanced fertilizers on soil quality and lentil yield in Gangetic alluvial soils of India
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Effect of balanced fertilizers on soil quality and lentil yield in Gangetic alluvial soils of India
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Effect of balanced fertilizers on soil quality and lentil yield in Gangetic alluvial soils of India
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *