Project properties

Title Mitigation of nitrogen emissions from peat grassland by using Plantago lanceolata?
Group Soil Biology
Project type thesis
Credits 24-36
Supervisor(s) Prof. Dr. Jan Willem van Groenigen (WUR)
MSc. Jeroen Pijlman (Louis Bolk Institute)
Dr. Ir. Nick van Eekeren (Louis Bolk Institute)
Examiner(s) Rachel Creamer
Contact info or for more info contact
Begin date 2020/04/01
End date
Description Introduction (thesis or internship)
Peat soils are very rich in organic matter through accumulation of plant residues over centuries. Areas with peat soils are nowadays drained in order to produce grass for milk production. However, negative side effects of draining is soil organic matter decomposition causing increased losses of nitrogen (often nitrous oxide) to the environment, resulting in soil subsidence and long term losses of fertile soil.
Traditionally, agricultural grasslands in this area consist mainly of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne). There is evidence that the inclusion of herbs like plantain (Plantago lanceolata) may directly slow down soil N mineralisation through crop residues and root exudation of allelochemical substrates (Dietz et al., 2013). In this project, the effect of mono-cultures and mixtures with perennial ryegrass and plantain are studied as part of a larger project with the objective to reduce nitrogen losses in dairy production systems on Dutch peat soils.

Hypothesis and main research objectives
Can the process of mineralisation in peat soils under grassland be influenced via the inclusion of plantain in a grassland sward with perennial ryegrass?

Type of work
Research will focus on field experiment with mono-cultures and mixtures of perennial ryegrass and plantain. In the experiment the herbage yield and N-content, and N2O emissions will be monitored.

This thesis or internship will be jointly supervised by the Louis Bolk Institute ( in Bunnik and Wageningen University & Research.

Used skills
Requirements Drivers license