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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

An Automated Microcosm System for Studying Soil Ecological Processes


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 58 No. 2, p. 401-404
    Received: Feb 15, 1993

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Ralph E. Hantschel ,
  2. Heiner Flessa and
  3. Friedrich Beese
  1. GSF-Forschungszentrum für Umwelt und Gesundheit, Institut für Bodenökologie, Neuherberg, Postfach 1129, 85758 Oberschleiβheim, Germany



Soil ecological processes are characterized by high temporal and spatial variability. To evaluate effects of soil management and environmental parameters on single processes, it is necessary to investigate several replicates of each soil type under controlled laboratory conditions. We developed a microcosm system in which 64 disturbed or undisturbed soil columns, each controlled individually, may be evaluated. The technical design of the automated microcosm system demonstrates the broad applicability of the system. For demonstration the effects of the herbicide terbuthylazin (TA) on microbial respiration in microcosms treated with and without barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) straw are shown. Even high amounts of the herbicide applied did not reduce the CO2 release by the soil organisms. The C source added with the barley residues did not change this result significantly.

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