Tillage, seasonal and depths effects on soil microbial properties in black soil of Northeast China.

Sun, B., Jia, S., Zhang, S., McLaughlin, N.B., Zhang, X.-P., Liang, A.-Z., Chen, X., Wei, S., and Liu, S.-Y. (2016). "Tillage, seasonal and depths effects on soil microbial properties in black soil of Northeast China.", Soil & Tillage Research, 155, pp. 421-428. doi : 10.1016/j.still.2015.09.014  Access to full text


Tillage practice can alter the content and distribution of soil organic matter by burying crop residue and soil disturbance, which would impact soil microbial properties. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effects of tillage practices (no tillage, NT; ridge tillage, RT; mouldboard plow, MP) and sampling date (April, June, September) on soil microbial properties at different soil depths. Soil core samples were taken at 0–5, 5–10 and 10–20 cm depths from a long-term tillage experiment site (initiated in 2001) in black soils in northeast China. Microbial biomass and extractable organic C were determined using by chloroform-fumigation-extraction method. Microbial abundance and community structure were determined using the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) method. Principal response curve (PRC) analysis revealed the magnitude of the effect of sampling date on the PLFA relative abundance decreased with depth within the tilled layer, whereas increased with depth for tillage practice. Microbial biomass carbon, abundance and the F/B ratio varied with the variation in available substrates at the 0–5 cm depths. NT and RT improved microbial abundance (total, fungal and bacterial abundance) in the 0–5 cm depth soil, but they did not contribute to a higher F/B ratio in the 0–5 cm depth soil, and had a lower F/B ratio than MP in the deeper soils below 5 cm depth. These results demonstrated that long-term conservation tillage practice has potential for improving microbial properties in surface soil, but may not cause a shift of microbial community structure in Northeast China.

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