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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Relationship Between Microbial Biomass Nitrogen and a Nitrogen Availability Index1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 51 No. 4, p. 1047-1049
    Received: Oct 14, 1986

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  1. David D. Myrold2



This study examined the microbiological basis for the anaerobic N mineralization assay, a technique that has been widely used in studies of N availability in forest soils. It was hypothesized that N mineralized using the anaerobic incubation method came mainly from killed microbial cells, similar to the flush of N obtained from the chloroform fumigation-incubation method for determining microbial biomass. Soil samples, representative of a wide range of forest types in Oregon, were analyzed for the amount of NH+4 released after a 7-d anaerobic incubation and by the standard chloroform fumigation-incubation method. A second experiment was done using the same soils treated with 15NH4Cl, and the isotopic labeling of the NH+4 released by both methods was determined. There was a highly significant correlation between both the amount and atom % 15N of NH+4 released by the two procedures (r2 = 0.81 and 0.82, respectively). These results suggest that the anaerobic N mineralization assay measures N released primarily from the microbial biomass.

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