The short-term effects of cessation of fertiliser applications, liming, and grazing on microbial biomass and activity in a reseeded upland grassland soil

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-154
Number of pages7
JournalBiology and Fertility of Soils
Volume19
Issue number2
DOI
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1995
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Abstract

A field study was conducted to determine the influence of a short-term (2 year) cessation of fertiliser applications, liming, and sheep-grazing on microbial biomass and activity in a reseeded upland grassland soil. The cessation of fertiliser applications (N and NPK) on a limed and grazed grassland had no effect on microbial biomass measurements, enzyme activities, or respiration. Withholding fertiliser and lime from a grazed grassland resulted in significant reductions in both microbial biomass C (P<0.05) and dehydrogenase activity (P<0.05) by approximately 18 and 21%, respectively. The removal of fertiliser applications, liming, and grazing resulted in even greater reductions in microbial biomass C (44%, P<0.001) and dehydrogenase activity (31%, P<0.001), and significant reductions in microbial biomass N (P<0.005), urease activity (P<0.05), phosphatase activity (P<0.001), and basal respiration (P<0.05). The abundance of culturable bacteria and fungi and the soil ATP content were unaffected by changes in grassland managements. With the cessation of liming soil pH fell from 5.4 to 4.7, and the removal of grazing resulted in a further reduction to pH 4.5. A significant negative linear relationship (r2=0.97; P<0.01) was found between increasing soil acidity and dehydrogenase activity. Possible mechanisms influencing these changes are discussed

Keywords

  • microbial biomass, dehydrogenase activity Urease, phosphatase, respiration, ATP, grazing fertiliser, lime