How does synthetic fertiliser application influence nitrogen mineralisation dynamics of organic amendments?

Study level

Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Daniele De Rosa
Research Associate
Division / Faculty
Institute for Future Environments
Dr Johannes Friedl
Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Associate Professor David Rowlings
Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Optimising how much organic amendment, such as compost, is applied to agricultural soils is one of the most promising and practical ways to reduce nitrogen (N) being released into the environment while also maintaining economically-adequate crop production.

The application of organic amendments alone often do not have the capability to meet crop needs due to the timing of N release being uncontrollable over time. Because of this N synthetic fertiliser is needed in conventional farming systems to meet perceived production needs.

Accounting for the amount of plant available N (PAN) released by organic amendments and combining this with supplemental addition of N fertilizer will ensure N demands of crop systems are met and in turn will improve N use efficiency. The combined use of these treatments also reduces the potential for environmental pollution through nitrous oxide emissions.

Research activities

This project will be undertaken with the soils team within the Institute of Future Environments. You will benefit from a practical, hands-on research experience where you will gain valuable insight into the research industry.

As a VRES student you can expect the following research activities to be involved within the research scheme:

  • literature reviews of the existing research in the field
  • laboratory experiments
  • data analysis and interpretations
  • writing papers.


The aim of this project is to assess the influence of additional N-fertiliser application on the N release from organic amendments.

Specifically, the project will investigate N mineralisation across a 28-day incubation experiment after the combined application of synthetic fertiliser and organic amendments to a heavy clay soil.

The data retrieved from these incubations will provide further understanding of the interaction between synthetic fertiliser and different organic amendments and how this influences N mineralisation rates. These incubations will also demonstrate the loss of N through nitrous oxide emissions after using this combined treatment.



Contact the supervisor for more information.