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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Ecological Risk Assessment

Enzyme Activities and Arylsulfatase Protein Content of Dust and the Soil Source


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 5, p. 1653-1661
    Received: Oct 17, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): vacostam@lbk.ars.usda.gov
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  1. V. Acosta-Martínez * and
  2. T. M. Zobeck
  1. USDA-ARS, Plant Stress and Water Conservation Laboratory, 3810 Fourth Street, Lubbock, TX 79416


Little is known about the potential of enzyme activities, which are sensitive to soil properties and management, for the characterization of dust properties. Enzyme activities may be among the dust properties key to identifying the soil source of dust. We generated dust (27 and 7 μm) under controlled laboratory conditions from agricultural soils (0–5 cm) with history of continuous cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) or cotton rotated with peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.), sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench], rye (Secale cereale L.), or wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) under different water management (irrigated or dryland) and tillage (conservation or conventional) systems. The 27- and 7-μm dust samples showed activities of β-glucosidase, alkaline phosphatase, and arylsulfatase, which are related to cellulose degradation and phosphorus and sulfur mineralization in soil, respectively. Dust samples generated from a loam and sandy clay loam showed higher enzyme activities compared with dust samples from a fine sandy loam. Enzyme activities of dust samples were significantly correlated to the activities of the soil source with r > 0.74 (P < 0.01). The arylsulfatase proteins contents of the soils (0.04–0.65 mg protein kg−1 soil) were lower than values reported for soils from other regions, but still dust contained arylsulfatase protein. The three enzyme activities studied, as a group, separated the dust samples due to the crop rotation or tillage practice history of the soil source. The results indicated that the enzyme activities of dust will aid in providing better characterization of dust properties and expanding our understanding of soil and air quality impacts related to wind erosion.

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