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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Determination of Microbial Biomass and Nitrogen Mineralization following Rewetting of Dried Soil


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 60 No. 4, p. 1133-1139
    Received: May 29, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): afranz@uga.cc.uga.edu
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  1. A. J. Franzluebbers ,
  2. R. L. Haney,
  3. F. M. Hons and
  4. D. A. Zuberer
  1. USDA-ARS Southern Piedmont Conservation Research Center, 1420 Experiment Station Rd., Watkinsville, GA 30677
    Dep. of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas Agric. Exp. Stn., Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843-2474



Routine soil testing procedures that are rapid and precise are needed to evaluate agricultural surface soils for their potential to mineralize C and N. Our objectives were to determine the optimum preincubation time after rewetting of dried soil for estimating soil microbial biomass (SMB) and to identify a quick, reliable biochemical predictor of soil N mineralization potential. Biochemical determinations of SMB were screened on a Weswood silty clay loam (fine, mixed, thermic Fluventic Ustochrept) having five levels of soil organic C (SOC) as a result of long-term management. Determinations used (i) field-moist soil and (ii) soil that was air dried, rewetted, and preincubated for 0.2, 1, 3, 6, 10, and 15 d. Biochemical determinations included arginine ammonification, substrate-induced respiration (SIR), cumulative C and net N mineralization, and SMBC using the chloroform fumigation-incubation (CFI) method. Preincubation periods of 1 and 15 d prior to fumigation gave estimates of SMBC using CFI most similar to those determined on field-moist soil. Arginine ammonification and SIR determinations on dried soil were highly variable, making longer preincubation periods necessary. Carbon mineralization during all preincubation periods was highly correlated to (i) SMBC using CFI determined on field-moist and dried soil with all preincubation periods and (ii) net N mineralization during 21 d for the Weswood soil, as well as for seven additional soil series each having five to eight levels of SOC. The CO2-C evolved during the first day after rewetting of dried soil is recommended for rapid estimation of SMBC and potential N mineralization because of its simplicity and precision.

Contribution from the Texas Agric. Exp. Stn.

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