, 224:1382

High Polyacrylamide Application Rates Do Not Affect Eubacterial Structural Diversity

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Abstract

Anionic polyacrylamide (PAM) is a linear, water-soluble anionic polymer that is widely used for erosion control and water quality protection. There has been an issue whether this formulation could possibly have negative effects on soil microbial diversity by altering microbial binding to soil particles or to one another and thus restricting their mobility and role in carbon and nutrient cycling. We conducted an 8-year study annually applying ultra-high rates of PAM to soil and then monitored impacts on soil bacterial diversity. In July and August, we measured active soil bacterial and fungal biomass and microbial diversity in soils receiving 0 (control), 2,691, and 5,382 kg active ingredient PAM ha−1. Active microbial biomass in soil was 19–33 % greater in the untreated control than soil treated with 2,691 or 5,382 kg of active ingredient PAM ha−1. Active bacterial biomass in soil was 21–31 % greater in the control treatment than in soil treated with 2,691 or 5,382 kg of active ingredient PAM ha−1 in August, but not July. Active fungal biomass in soils was 38–50 % greater in the control treatment than soil treated with 2,691 or 5,382 kg of active ingredient PAM ha−1 in July, but not August. Molecular methods were used to access the bacterial diversity, richness, and evenness in an agricultural soil that received 0 (control), 2,691, and 5,382 kg of active ingredient PAM ha−1. We found that although soil receiving these massive PAM application rates and prolonged exposure may reduce active bacterial and fungal biomass, PAM application did not substantially or consistently affect bacterial structural diversity, richness, or evenness in this agricultural soil.