Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 226–236

Soil enzymatic response to addition of municipal solid-waste compost

  • Claire Serra-Wittling
  • Sabine Houot
  • Enrique Barriuso
Original Paper


Modifications of soil microbiological activity by the addition of municipal solid-waste compost were studied in laboratory incubations. Three composts were compared, one lumbricompost and two classical composts with different maturation times. Organic C mineralization and nine enzyme activities (dehydrogenase, peroxidase, cellulase, β-glucosidase, β-galactosidase, N-acetyl-β-glucosaminidase, protease, amidase, and urease) were determined in the composts and the amended soil. Initial enzyme activities varied in the soil according to the sampling date (winter or summer) and were greater in the composts than in the soil, except for urease. Generally, the youngest compost exhibited greater activity than the oldest one. In the amended soil, the composts did not increase enzyme activity in an additive way. Dehydrogenase, the only strictly endocellular enzyme, was the only one for which the activity in the amended soil increased significantly in proportion to the addition of compost. During the incubations, C mineralization and dehydrogenase activity were significantly correlated, indicating that dehydrogenase was a reliable indicator of global microbial activity. Peroxidase activity in the soil remained constant, but increased in the composts and amended soil. Addition of the oldest compost had no effect on the activity of the C cycle enzymes, but the youngest compost increased creased soil activity at the higher application rate. Enzymes of the N cycle were stimulated by all compost amendments, but the increase was only transient for amidase and urease. Lumbricomposting had no marked effect on compost enzyme activity, either before or during the incubation.

Key words

Municipal solid waste Compost Carbon mineralization Microbial activity Soil enzymes Dehydrogenase activity Lumbricomposting 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claire Serra-Wittling
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sabine Houot
    • 1
  • Enrique Barriuso
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire des SolsI. N. R. A. Centre de GrignonThiverval-GrignonFrance
  2. 2.Procter and Gamble FranceNeuilly-sur-Seine CedexFrance

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