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Soil microbiology guides fertiliser use

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In an effort to help improve fertiliser application and timing in agricultural farming, researchers have set out to discover what environmental factors affect the microorganisms in soil and what influence these microorganisms have on nitrification rates.

CSIRO’s Cathryn O’Sullivan says the research highlights soil factors for fertiliser timing so that farmers can apply fertiliser when plants need it most.

“Soils that have high nitrification rates create a run-off from fertiliser that can end up in lakes and rivers and causes a waste of the fertiliser farmers apply to maintain their crops,” Dr O’Sullivan says.

She says oxidation of ammonium into nitrite is performed by two groups of organisms, ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA).
 
 

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