PRS Publications

Have this publication emailed to you.

Humalite enhances the growth, grain yield, and protein content of wheat by improving soil nitrogen availability and nutrient uptake

Rathor, P., V. Rouleau, L. Y. Gorim, G. Chen and M.S. Thilakarathna. 2023.


Background: The application of synthetic chemical inputs in current agricultural practices has significantly increased crop production, but their use has caused severe negative consequences on the environment. Humalite is an organic soil amendment that is rich in humic acid and found in large deposits in southern Alberta, Canada. Humic products can enhance nutrient uptake and assimilation in plants by reducing nutrient losses and enhancing bioavailability in the soil. Aim: Here, we evaluated the effects of different humalite rates in the presence of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (NPK) at recommended rates on soil nitrogen availability, wheat growth, grain yield, seed nutritional quality, and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) under controlled environmental conditions. Methods: A series of studies were conducted by applying five different rates of humalite (0, 200, 400, 800, and 1600 kg ha-1) with NPK at recommended rates. Soil nitrogen availability and shoot and root growth parameters were recorded at flowering stage. NUE was calculated based on the grain yield at maturity stage. Results: Plants grown in the presence of humalite augmented root morphological parameters (root length, volume, and surface area), plant biomass (shoot and root), and nutrient uptake (N, P, K, and S) compared to the plants supplied with recommended fertilizer alone. Furthermore, humalite application significantly increased grain yield (14%-19%), seed protein content (23%-30%), and NUE (14%-60%) compared to the fertilizer application alone. Conclusion: These findings suggest that humalite can be used as an organic soil amendment to reduce synthetic fertilizer application and improve plant growth and yield while enhancing fertilizer use efficiency

Key Words

humic products, nitrogen use efficiency, plant root simulator probes, roots, shoots