Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 15–20 | Cite as

Microbial biomass in soils under different tillage and crop rotation systems

  • Elcio L. BalotaEmail author
  • Arnaldo Colozzi-Filho
  • Diva S. Andrade
  • Richard P. Dick
Original Paper


A long-term study on the effect of different crop rotations [soybean/wheat, S/W; maize/wheat, M/W or cotton/wheat, C/W] and tillage regimes [no-tillage (NT) or conventional tillage (CT)] on microbial biomass and other soil properties is reported. The experiment was established in 1976 in southern Brazil as a split-plot experimental design in three replications. Soil samples were taken in 1997 and 1998 at 0- to 5-, 5- to 10- and 10- to 20-cm depths and evaluated for microbial biomass C, N, P and S by direct extraction methods. The NT system showed increases of 103%, 54%, 36%, and 44% for microbial biomass C, N, P, and Cmic:Corg percentage, respectively at the 0- to 5-cm depth. NT systems also increased the C to N:S:P ratios. These results provide evidence that tillage or crop rotation affect microbial immobilization of soil nutrients. The larger amount of C immobilized in microbial biomass suggests that soil organic matter under NT systems provides higher levels of more labile C than CT systems.


Microbial biomass Tillage systems Crop rotation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elcio L. Balota
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arnaldo Colozzi-Filho
    • 1
  • Diva S. Andrade
    • 1
  • Richard P. Dick
    • 2
  1. 1.Soil DepartmentInstituto Agronômico do Paraná (IAPAR)LondrinaBrazil
  2. 2.Crop and Soil Science DepartmentOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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