Soil & Environment Sciences division


Introduction Research objectives
Research Groups Outreach Activities
funded projects WORK DONE SO FAR

Soil is the natural medium for plant growth, waste disposal, distribute and store water and nutrients, and support our environment. The food production, drinking water quality and environment are all depend on soils health and their physical, chemical and biological properties.  The main aim of soil science division research is to improve nutrients and water use efficiency and to conserve soil health/ fertility. The scientist  are working on integrated management of nutrients for cereals/ vegetables crops and orchards, nutritional requirements of candidate varieties of NIFA and development of quality compost and engineered fertilizer. In addition we are helping the breeder of NIFA in screening the advanced wheat genotypes for high yield potential on low fertility soils.

Research Objectives            
  • To enhance crop production and soil productivity by improving nutrients and water use efficiencies for different field and horticultural crops.
  • To evaluate and give recommendation of nutritional/ irrigation requirements for upcoming varieties of different crops evolved at NIFA.
  • To develop an environment friendly slow release organic fertilizing material for horticultural crops.
Research Groups    
  1. Soil Biology and Biochemistry Group
  2. Plant Nutrition Group
Outreach Activities    
  1. Publications: 255
  2. Students supervised: 70
  3. Lectures/Radio talks delivered: 30
  4. Farmers Day/ training/work shop: 12
Ongoing Projects  
  1. Promotion of high /walk-in-tunnel farming with high efficiency irrigation and nutrient management systems for growing of off season vegetables.
  2. Effect of foliar applied micronutrients and humic acid on horticultural crops.
  3. Bio-fortification of Zn in wheat.
  4. Screening of advanced wheat genotypes for high yield and quality on low fertility soils.
  5. Nutritional requirements of advanced lines of wheat & oil seed brassica evolved at NIFA
  6. Agro- waste composting with bio-geyser as a by-product.
  7. R & D on humic acid and Fulvic acid for horticultural crops.
  8. Screening of wheat germplasm based on root traits for yield and water use.
Funded Projects –Completed  
  1. Determination of irrigation scheduling of potato using nuclear techniques. Funding Agency: IAEA.
  2. Evaluation of nitrification inhibitor for potato and its influence on N losses from labeled urea under various soil conditions. Funding Agency: IFS.
  3. Improving crop productivity in rainfed dry areas. Funding Agency: IAEA.
  4. Increasing crop production in rainfed areas by improved water and nutrient management using nuclear techniques. Funding Agency: IAEA.
  5. Improving crop productivity in dry area through water management practices. Funding Agency: ARP-II.
  6. Saline Agriculture Farmers Participatory Development Project Funding Agency: MinFAL, Govt. of Pakistan.
  7. Integrated management of soil, water and nutrient for improving crop productivity, soil fertility, water use efficiency and environmental protection in rainfed areas of KPK. Funding Agency: IAEA.
  8. Effect of mineral and organic nitrogen on yield and nitrogen nutrition of plum fruit orchard. Funding Agency; PSF
Work done so far  
  • The timings of fertilizer application proved very crucial for growing of off-season vegetables in tunnels. The NPK fertilizer application at 30 days intervals after nursery transplantation till mid of June, gave maximum yield of both tomato (160.3 tons ha-1) and cucumbers (219.6 tons ha-1). Application of Zn (5kg ha-1) along with NPK yielded an additional benefit of 25.5% in terms of tomato production. Off-season tomato and cucumber grown in high tunnel gave 15 times more income compared to conventional one.  
  • The highest fruit yield of peach, plum and apricot was obtained through integrated NPK treatment (1.0-0.5-0.5 kg/tree, 75% min +25% FYM-N). In another similar study, an increase of 64% in plum yield was recorded when half of the recommended rate of NPK & FYM was applied as soil application along with foliar application of NPK @ 0.5% and humic acid 0.05%.
  • The screening of wheat genotypes for P-efficiency depicted that NRL-1105, NRL-1120 and Yecora were found P-efficient while NRL-1101, NRL-1129 and WL-711 were found P-inefficient genotypes.
  • The study revealed that Zn-efficient genotypes (NRL 0517, NRL-1242 CT 03457 and NIFA-V15) produced 45% higher biomass compared to Zn-inefficient genotypes. Zn-efficient genotypes extracted 36% more Zn from Zn-deficient medium as compared to Zn-inefficient genotypes.
  • Fifteen tons of compost from the agro-wastes of NIFA campus have been prepared and evaluated as slow release organic fertilizer for nursery plants, vegetables (kitchen gardening) and fruit orchards. Compost is being supplied to commercial gardeners @ Rs.20 kg-1.
  • The residual effect of compost was very conspicuous and its single application enhanced the tomato fruit yield by 38% (1st year), 25 % (2nd year) and 10 % (3rd year). In case of potato the tuber yield was increased by 49 % (1st year) 35% (2nd year) and 15% (3rd year). 
  • A simple, economical and environment friendly bio-geyser as a byproduct of compost preparation was developed. Further a domestic bio-geyser of 100 liter capacity (40-50 oC) can be prepared at cost of one thousand rupees and it will also produce 40–50 kg of compost.
  • Humic acid was extracted from 8 raw lignite coal samples of different ores in Pakistan and a peat sample collected from Gibral area of Kalam, Swat. Maximum humic acid extraction was obtained from peat sample (23%) followed by Makerwal coal (11%).
  • Study on the evaluation of efficacy of local earth worm species in composting of plant residues revealed that local earth worm species do not hasten the composting process and prefer natural soil conditions over the composted residues.
  • Fifteen wheat genotypes were evaluated for root traits and significant differences were observed for rooting depth, root biomass, nitrogen (N) uptake by roots and total N uptake. Maximum rooting depth (76cm) was obtained by accession 11277


nuclear institute for food and agriculture peshawar, pakistan