Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 43, Issue 6, pp 621–630 | Cite as

Nitrogen dynamics and microbial response in soil amended with either olive pulp or its by-products after biogas production

  • P. GioacchiniEmail author
  • L. M. Manici
  • N. A. Ramieri
  • C. Marzadori
  • C. Ciavatta
Original Paper


Olive pulp (OP), the residual material of a two-phase olive oil extraction system, and effluents from hydrogen (EH2) and methane (ECH4) production, have been evaluated as soil amendments particularly for their impact on soil mineral nitrogen (N) dynamics, gross N mineralization, and soil microbial biomass N (Nmic). Both N transformation and microbial growth were mainly influenced by the amount and quality of added organic carbon (C). Both OP and EH2, which contain more carbohydrates and lipids than polyphenolic compounds, stimulated NO3 immobilization during the early incubation period and increased Nmic, saprophytic fungi, and N mineralization. On the contrary, soil amended with ECH4, which is characterized by the lowest C content but the highest content of polyphenolic compounds, behaved as the control; neither NO3 immobilization nor microbial growth were observed and gross N mineralization was stimulated only at the beginning of the incubation period. Bacterial plate count was significantly correlated with direct bacterial count and fungal count was correlated with Nmic. Therefore, it is suggested that both bacterial and fungal plate counts may be used as indicators of the overall bacterial and fungal populations inhabiting soil, respectively. The knowledge of the impact of these materials on soil N dynamics is crucial for their correct use in agriculture because it has been shown that NO3 availability can be strongly influenced by the addition of different amounts and quality of organic amendment.


Olive pulp Microbial biomass N Bacterial count Fungal count NO3 immobilization Gross mineralization 



The study was supported with funds from the European Community, project: Integrated biological treatment and agricultural reuse of olive mill effluents with the concurrent recovery of energy sources (contract no. QLK5-CT-2002-02344). The authors gratefully thank Dr. Daniela Montecchio for the TG-DTA measurements.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Gioacchini
    • 1
    Email author
  • L. M. Manici
    • 2
  • N. A. Ramieri
    • 1
  • C. Marzadori
    • 1
  • C. Ciavatta
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie AgroambientaliUniversità di BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Agriculture Research Council (C.R.A.)I.S.C.I.BolognaItaly

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