Soil microbial biomass, functional microbial diversity, and nematode community structure as affected by cover crops and compost in an organic vegetable production system

Ajay Nair, Mathieu Ngouajio - ResearchGate / Article in Applied Social Ecology Vol 58 July 2012

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

Although this study used only tomato plant for their research, looking at the results, it would be worth trying on more variants of plant in order to compare results.

Soil microorganisms play a crucial role in mineralization and breakdown of complex organic compounds in soil. Microbial populations and functional diversity are greatly influenced by quantity and quality of crop residue and other incorporate organic amendments.

Each cover crop treatment was used in conjunction with or without compost in a split-plot experimental design. Data on soil respiration, microbial biomass, metabolic quotient, and nematode populations were measured at the end of the growing season. Metabolic characteristics of the soil microbial community were determined using 31 C substrates on Biolog-EcoPlateTM. Community level physiological profile (CLPP) was assessed by calculating average well color development (AWCD), richness (S), Shannon–Wiener diversity index, and evenness.

In this study four organic tomato production systems were compared, which differ, based on plant residues and compost inputs. The specific aim of this study was to investigate the impact of cover crop and compost on soil chemical and biological characteristics and tomato yield.

The objective of this study was to understand changes in below ground biology brought out by two very commonly used organic amendments, cover crops and compost, under an organic production system. It focused on rye and arye-vetch mixture, as they are suitable to temperate climatic regions and a widely accepted cover crop system.

Overall the results demonstrate that soil management practices can enhance soil biological activity.

• Soil biological properties such as respiration, microbial biomass, nematode population, and microbial functional diversity can be used an indicator of management induced, changes to soil quality.

• For most soil biological properties evaluated, use of rye or rye-vetch mixture did not lead to major differences.

• The use of compost significantly altered various biological parameters within cover crop treatments.

• Compost application increased microbial biomass and had a positive impact on soil microbial functional diversity, higher microbial activity in soils receiving yearly compost applications.

• Soil microbial functional diversity, based on CLPP patterns derived from Biolog-EcoPlateTM, was not consistent in separating compost and no-compost treatments; however, it is possible that it may take more time to observe changes in community dynamics as soil microbial communities can be relatively robust towards short-term effects.

• Both rye and rye-vetch mixture can affect the functional diversity of soil microbial community but differences between them are marginal when compared to compost and no-compost treatments.

• Microbial communities were more responsive to compost applications than cover crop effects.

2012 - United States - Ajay Nair, Mathieu Ngouajio - ResearchGate / Article in Applied Social Ecology Vol 58 July 2012
Read ArticleSave For Later

Related Resources