Agricultural management practices – directly or indirectly – influence soil properties.
Fertilization rates and crop rotation can strongly affect soil pH, soil nutrient supply and soil organic matter content due to the changes of microbial processes. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of different fertilization d...oses in monoculture and tri-culture of maize (monoculture: only maize grown since 1983, tri-culture: it is a three-year crop rotation system: pea – winter wheat – maize) on selected soil characteristics. The long-term fertilization experiments were set up in 1983 in Eastern Hungary. These experiments are situated west of Debrecen in Hajdúság loess region, on calcareous chernozem (according to WRB: Chernozems).
The test plant was maize (Zea mays L.). One-one pilot blocks were selected from monoculture and tri-culture of the long-term experiments. The observed soil samples were taken in the 30th year of the experiment, in 2013. The doses of NPK fertilizers increased parallel together, so the effects of N-, P- and K-fertilizers cannot be separated.
With the increasing fertilizer doses, the soil pH has decreased in both crop production systems and, in parallel, the hydrolytic acidity has significantly increased. A close negative correlation was proved between the pHH2O, pHKCl and hydrolytic acidity. An increased nutrient content in soil was recorded in every NPK treatment and the available phosphorus and nitrate content increased in higher proportion than that of potassium. Of the measured parameters of C-and N-cycles, fertilization has mostly had a positive effect on the microbial activity of soils. Besides the effects of fertilizer doses, correlation were looked for between soil microbiological properties. Evaluating the ratios among the measured parameters (organic carbon and microbial biomass carbon, OC/MBC ratio; carbon-dioxide and microbial biomass carbon; CO2/MBC proportion), the fertilization rate seems to be favoured by the increase of amounts of organic compounds
In a pot experiment, we have studied the effect of bentonite and zeolite in different dosages [control; 5; 10; 15; 20 g kg-1] on acidic (pHH2O=5.65) humus sandy soil. The experiment was set up in 2007 and 2008 in the greenhouse of the UD CASE Department of Agrochemistry and Soil Science. As a test plant, perennial ryegrass... (Lolium perenne L.) was used.
In laboratory examinations, pH(H2O), pH(KCl), hidrolytic acidity, nitrate-N content, readily available phosphorus and potassium content were determined. Among soil microbial parameters, the total number of bacteria, the cellulose-decomposing bacteria, the carbon-dioxide production, the microbial biomass-C content of soil, and the saccharase enzyme activity were measured. In the experiment the biomass of the test plant was determined.
The effect of bentonite and zeolite in different dosages can be summarized as follows:
− The pH increased under the effect of low dosages. With the increasing of the pH the hydrolytic acidity - at the bentonite treatments significantly – decreased.
− Regarding the readily available nutrient content of the soil, low and medium dosages proved to be effective. High dosages of bentonite treatments reduced the nitrate-N content, the readily available phosphorus, and potassium content of soil, by zeolite treatments the high dosages reduced the nitrate-N content of soil.
− Regarding the measured soil microbial parameters in both treatments low and medium dosages proved to be also effective, but the high dosages didn’t cause decreasing at the total number of bacteria, and by zeolite treatments the biomass-C content of soil.
− Also the bentonite and zeolite treatments enlarged the biomass of the test plant. We experienced significant increasing by bentonite treatments by the effect of medium and high dosages, while in zeolite treatments only the high dosage caused significantly increasing in plant biomass. The largest dosages decrease the plant biomass.
− Under the statistical analysis we found many medium and tight correlation between the studied parameters.
Sustainable plant growth, considering the difficulties of weed elimination, cannot be effective without the application of herbicides. However, these chemicals have enormous ecological implications, including effects on the microbiological communities of soils. It is advisable to use herbicides that have minimal secondary effects on the environ...ment and soil-living microorganisms. In contrast, herbicides with prolonged growth stimulating or inhibiting effects are not suitable, because both types have strong influences on the number and activity of bacteria, thus causing changes in the ecological equilibrium.
Preceding small plot experiments, laboratory tests were carried out to study the effect of herbicides used in maize cultures on the number of bacteria and growth of microscopic fungi.
Substances that were observed to have stronger influences were applied in small plot experiments set up in the experimental garden of the Department of Plant Protection of the University of Debrecen. We studied the effects of four herbicides (Acenit A88EC, Frontier 900 EC, Merlin SC and Wing EC) on the microbiological properties of the soil. These herbicides were used in different concentrations in maize culture, and we investigated the effects in different soil layers.
In the laboratory experiments, we determined the total number of bacteria and microscopic fungi and examined the growth of Aspergillus niger, Trichoderma sp. and Fusarium oxysporum on peptone-glucose agar containing herbicides.
During the small plot experiments, soil samples were collected 3 times a year from 2-20 cm depth. The total numbers of bacteria and microscopic fungi were determined by plate dilution method, while the method of most probable number (Pochon method) was used to determine the numbers of nitrifying bacteria and cellulose decomposing bacteria. To evaluate the microbiological activity of the soil samples we measured carbon-dioxide release (after 10 days incubation), nitrate production (after 14 days incubation) and the concentration of C and N in the biomass.
We can summarize our results as follows:
• In laboratory experiments, herbicides caused a decrease in the number of bacteria and inhibited the growth of microscopic fungi.
• Frontier 900 EC and Acenit A 880 EC had the strongest inhibiting effect on microorganisms.
• In small plot experiments, herbicide treatment decreased the total number of bacteria and microscopic fungi.
• Herbicides caused a significant increase in the number of nitrifying and cellulose decomposing bacteria.
• Different herbicides containing the same active compound had similar influences on soil microoorganisms.
• A significant increase was observed in the physiological processes of tolerant microorganisms surviving the effects of herbicides