Biological and chemical properties of arable soils affected by long-term organic and inorganic fertilizer applications

M. Šimek*, T. Picek, H. Šantrůčková, D. W. Hopkins, J. Kalčík, J. Staňa, K. Trávník

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using soils from field plots in four different arable crop experiments that have received combinations of manure, lime and inorganic N, P and K for up to 20 years, the effects of these fertilizers on soil chemical properties and estimates of soil microbial community size and activity were studied. The soil pH was increased or unaffected by the addition of organic manure plus inorganic fertilizers applied in conjunction with lime, but decreased in the absence of liming. The soil C and N contents were greater for all fertilized treatments compared to the control, yet in all cases the soil samples from fertilized plots had smaller C:N ratios than soil from the unfertilized plots. The soil concentrations of all the other inorganic nutrients measured were greater following fertilizer applications compared with the unfertilized plots, and this effect was most marked for P and K in soils from plots that had received the largest amounts of these nutrients as fertilizers. Both biomass C determined by chloroform fumigation and glucose-induced respiration tended to increase as a result of manure and inorganic fertilizer applications, although soils which received the largest additions of inorganic fertilizers in the absence of lime contained less biomass C than those to which lime had been added. Dehydrogenase activity was lower in soils that had received the largest amounts of fertilizers, and was further decreased in the absence of lime. This suggests that dehydrogenase activity was highly sensitive to the inhibitory effects associated with large fertilizer additions. Potential denitrification and anaerobic respiration determined in one soil were increased by fertilizer application but, as with both the microbial biomass and dehydrogenase activity, there were significant reductions in both N2O and CO2 production in soils which received the largest additions of inorganic fertilizers in the absence of lime. In contrast, the size of the denitrifying component of the soil microbial community, as indicated by denitrifying enzyme activity, was unaffected by the absence of lime at the largest rate of inorganic fertilizer applications. The results indicated differences in the composition or function of microbial communities in the soils in response to long-term organic and inorganic fertilization, especially when the soils were not limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-308
Number of pages9
JournalBiology and Fertility of Soils
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dehydrogenase activity
  • Denitrification potential
  • Denitrifying enzyme activity
  • Long-term fertilization
  • Microbial biomass

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