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Vol. 226–227, 2014, Pages: 79–84

Microbial residue indices down the soil profile after long-term addition of farmyard manure and mineral fertilizer to a sandy soil

André Sradnick, Meike Oltmanns, Joachim Raupp, Rainer Georg Joergensen

Department of Soil Biology and Plant Nutrition, University of Kassel, Nordbahnhofstr. 1a, 37213 Witzenhausen, Germany.


Long-term organic fertilization may control the accumulation of organic matter in subsoil. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of long-term farmyard manure application in comparison with mineral fertilization on the accumulation of amino sugars as indices for microbial residues down to 1 m depth at a sandy site that exhibits highly heterogeneous pH conditions. In relation to maximum values in topsoil at 90–100 cm depth, the SOC content decreased to roughly 24% and the total N content to 16% of the maximum values, leading to an increased soil C/N ratio from 11 to values around 16 in all treatments. The relative contribution of microbial residue C to SOC decreased with depth from 68% at 0–25 cm to 24% at 50–100 cm. In the subsoil, the stocks of microbial residue C were increased by manure in comparison with mineral fertilization, but not the stocks of SOC. This suggests that manure-induced priming effects increase the microbial turnover at 50–100 cm depth. Manure fertilization promoted the formation of bacterial residues in the topsoil at 0–25 cm depth, but not in the subsoil. Below the topsoil, the fungal C to bacterial C ratio decreased from 2.6 at 0–25 cm depth to 2.1 at 50–100 cm depth. Below the topsoil, the ratio of fungal to bacterial residues continuously decreased with depth from 2.7 to 1.7 at 90–100 cm depth, without fertilizer effects. Possible reasons for this decrease, such as effects of pH on the subsoil microbial community, a higher sensitivity of fungi to the absence of fresh organic matter or to an unfavourable composition of the subsoil atmosphere, need further investigations.

Keywords: Farmyard manure; Soil organic C; Amino sugars; Fungal C to bacterial C ratio.

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