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Understanding the interactions of N fertilizer technologies, fungicides, and the soil microbiome to optimize sustainable agriculture.

Crop Types
  • Whole Farm
Collaborating Locations

Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers (EEFs) are emerging as a solution to improve N use efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, yet their interactions with other agricultural practices and microbial processes remains. Research has found that EEFs function less efficiently in wheat systems than in other crops. To fully understand and utilize the benefits of EEFs it is important to characterize their interactions with common agricultural practices, such as pesticide applications, and the impact these interactions may have on soil health and the soil microbiome. EEFs are actively being studied on experimental plots at AAFC Lethbridge to assess optimization of N management strategies for Canadian Western Red Spring wheat. To expand on this work, this project will leverage these sites and assess the potential for co-occurring impacts of EEFs and three important agricultural practices on the soil microbiome: 1) EEFs and fertilizer application rates; 2) EEFs and fungicide applications; and 3) EEFs and previous crops effects. Information obtained in this work will ultimately help to inform growers regarding optimal practices for N management and protecting and maintaining soil microbial communities and soil health.


  1. Monitor changes in the soil microbiome (taxonomic diversity and functional potential) and soil health with five different N inhibitors and four N rates.
  2. Measure and quantify N inhibitors in the soil to assess the fate of these compounds and understand their potential impacts on soil health.
  3. Determine the impacts of fungicides and N inhibitors on crop performance, soil health and beneficial soil microbial communities.
  4. Determine the impact of soil microbiome priming with previous crop rotations to develp best management practices to support crop productivity with enhanced efficiency fertilizer application

Project Details

Principal Investigator
Dr Monika Gorzelak
Project Status
Start Date
Completion Date
Funding Partners
Total Project Cost
MCA Funding

Field Issues

  • Soil