Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 44, Issue 7, pp 943–953

Salinity and sodicity effects on respiration and microbial biomass of soil

  • Vanessa N. L. Wong
  • Ram C. Dalal
  • Richard S. B. Greene
Original Paper

Abstract

An understanding of the effects of salinity and sodicity on soil carbon (C) stocks and fluxes is critical in environmental management, as the areal extents of salinity and sodicity are predicted to increase. The effects of salinity and sodicity on the soil microbial biomass (SMB) and soil respiration were assessed over 12weeks under controlled conditions by subjecting disturbed soil samples from a vegetated soil profile to leaching with one of six salt solutions; a combination of low-salinity (0.5dSm−1), mid-salinity (10dSm−1), or high-salinity (30dSm−1), with either low-sodicity (sodium adsorption ratio, SAR, 1), or high-sodicity (SAR 30) to give six treatments: control (low-salinity low-sodicity); low-salinity high-sodicity; mid-salinity low-sodicity; mid-salinity high-sodicity; high-salinity low-sodicity; and high-salinity high-sodicity. Soil respiration rate was highest (56–80mg CO2-C kg−1 soil) in the low-salinity treatments and lowest (1–5mg CO2-C kg−1 soil) in the mid-salinity treatments, while the SMB was highest in the high-salinity treatments (459–565mg kg−1 soil) and lowest in the low-salinity treatments (158–172mg kg−1 soil). This was attributed to increased substrate availability with high salt concentrations through either increased dispersion of soil aggregates or dissolution or hydrolysis of soil organic matter, which may offset some of the stresses placed on the microbial population from high salt concentrations. The apparent disparity in trends in respiration and the SMB may be due to an induced shift in the microbial population, from one dominated by more active microorganisms to one dominated by less active microorganisms.

Keywords

Leaching Saline Sodic Labile carbon Soil respiration Microbial biomass 

References

  1. Adu JK, Oades JM (1978) Utilization of organic materials in soil aggregates by bacteria and fungi. Soil Biol Biochem 10:117–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson TH, Domsch KH (1989) Ratios of microbial biomass carbon to total organic carbon in arable soils. Soil Biol Biochem 21:471–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson TH, Domsch KH (1993) The metabolic quotient for CO2 (qCO2) as a specific activity parameter to assess the effects of environmental conditions, such as pH on the microbial biomass of forest soils. Soil Biol Biochem 25:393–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barajas Aceves M, Grace C, Ansorena J, Dendooven L, Brookes PC (1999) Soil microbial biomass and organic C in a gradient of zinc concentrations in soils around a mine spoil tip. Soil Biol Biochem 31:867–876CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bethune MG, Batey TJ (2002) Impact on soil hydraulic properties resulting from irrigating saline-sodic soils with low salinity water. Aust J Exp Agric 42:273–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bouyoucos GD (1936) Directions for making mechanical analysis of soils by the hydrometer method. Soil Sci 42:225–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chander K, Brookes PC (1991) Microbial biomass dynamics during the decomposition of glucose and maize in metal-contaminated and non-contaminated soils. Soil Biol Biochem 23:917–925CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chander K, Goyal S, Kapoor KK (1994) Effect of sodic water irrigation and farm yard manure application on soil microbial biomass and microbial activity. Appl Soil Ecol 1:139–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crescimanno G, De Santis A (2004) Bypass flow, salinization and sodication in a cracking clay soil. Geoderma 121:307–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dalal RC (1998) Soil microbial biomass—what do the numbers really mean? Aust J Exp Agric 38:649–665CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Edwards NT (1982) The use of soda-lime for measuring respiration rates in terrestrial systems. Pedobiologia 23:321–330Google Scholar
  12. FAO (1998) World reference base for soil resources. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, RomeGoogle Scholar
  13. Hatton TJ, Ruprecht J, George RJ (2003) Preclearing hydrology of the Western Australia wheatbelt: target for the future? Plant Soil 257:341–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Haynes RJ (1999) Size and activity of the soil microbial biomass under grass and arable management. Biol Fertil Soils 30:210–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hird C (1991) Soil landscapes of the Goulburn 1:250 000 sheet. Soil Conservation Service of NSW, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  16. Isbell R (1996) The Australian soil classification. CSIRO, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  17. Jandl R, Sollins P (1997) Water-extractable soil carbon in relation to the below-ground carbon cycle. Biol Fertil Soils 25:196–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Keith H, Wong SC (2006) Measurement of soil CO2 efflux using soda lime absorption: both quantitative and reliable. Soil Biol Biochem 38:1121–1131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Laura RD (1973) Effects of sodium carbonate on carbon and nitrogen mineralization of organic matter added to soil. Geoderma 9:15–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Laura RD (1976) Effects of alkali salts on carbon and nitrogen mineralization of organic matter in soil. Plant Soil 44:587–596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Minderman G, Vulto JC (1973) Comparison of techniques for the measurement of carbon dioxide evolution from soil. Pedobiologia 13:73–80Google Scholar
  22. Muhammad S, Muller T, Joergensen RG (2006) Decomposition of pea and maize straw in Pakistani soils along a gradient in salinity. Biol Fertil Soils 43:93–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Murphy BW, Eldridge DJ (1998) Soils of New South Wales and their landscapes. In: Charman PEV, Murphy BW (eds) Soils: their properties and management. Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp 115–146Google Scholar
  24. Nannipieri P, Ascher J, Ceccherini MT, Landi L, Pietramellara G, Renella G (2003) Microbial diversity and soil functions. Eur J Soil Sci 54:655–670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nelson PN, Ladd JN, Oades JM (1996) Decomposition of 14C-labelled plant material in a salt affected soil. Soil Biol Biochem 28:433–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Payne RW (2005) The guide to Genstat release 8 part 2: statistics. VSN International, Oxford UKGoogle Scholar
  27. Parton WJ, Schimel DS, Cole CV, Ojima DS (1987) Analysis of factors controlling soil organic matter levels in great plains grasslands. Soil Sci Soc Am J 51:1173–1179Google Scholar
  28. Pathak H, Rao DLN (1998) Carbon and nitrogen mineralization from added organic matter in saline and alkali soils. Soil Biol Biochem 30:695–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Quirk JP, Schofield RK (1955) The effect of electrolyte concentration on soil permeability. J Soil Sci 6:163–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rayment GE, Higginson FR (1992) Australian laboratory handbook of soil and water chemical methods. Inkata, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  31. Rengasamy P, Sumner ME (1998) Processes involved in sodic behaviour. In: Sumner ME, Naidu R (eds) Sodic soils: distribution, properties, management and environmental consequences. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 35–50Google Scholar
  32. Rietz DN, Haynes RJ (2003) Effects of irrigation-induced salinity and sodicity on soil microbial activity. Soil Biol Biochem 35:845–854CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sadinha M, Muller T, Schmeisky H, Joergensen RG (2003) Microbial performance in soils along a salinity gradient under acidic conditions. Appl Soil Ecol 23:237–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sarig S, Roberson EB, Firestone MK (1993) Microbial activity-soil structure: response to saline water irrigation. Soil Biol Biochem 25:693–697CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shainberg I, Letey J (1984) Response of soils to sodic and saline conditions. Hilgardia 52:1–57Google Scholar
  36. Sparling GP (1992) Ratio of microbial biomass carbon to soil organic carbon as a sensitive indicator of changes in soil organic matter. Aust J Soil Res 30:195–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Surapaneni A, Olsson KA (2002) Sodification under conjunctive water use in the Shepparton Irrigation Region of northern Victoria: a review. Aust J Exp Agric 42:249–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tisdall JM, Oades JM (1982) Organic matter and water-stable aggregates in soils. J Soil Sci 33:141–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tripathi S, Kumari S, Chakraborty A, Gupta A, Chakrabarti K, Bandyapadhyay BK (2006) Microbial biomass and its activities in salt-affected coastal soils. Biol Fertil Soils 42:273–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Vance WH, Brookes PC, Jenkinson DJ (1987) An extraction method for measuring soil microbial biomass C. Soil Biol Biochem 19:703–707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Walkley A (1947) A critical examination of a rapid method for determining organic carbon in soils-effects of variations in digestion conditions and of inorganic soil constituents. Soil Sci 63:251–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wardle DA, Ghani A (1995) A critique of the microbial metabolic quotient (qCO2) as a bioindicator of disturbance and ecosystem development. Soil Biol Biochem 27:1601–1610CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa N. L. Wong
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 5
  • Ram C. Dalal
    • 3
    • 4
  • Richard S. B. Greene
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape Environments and Mineral ExplorationBentleyAustralia
  3. 3.Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse AccountingCanberraAustralia
  4. 4.Queensland Department of Natural Resources and WaterBrisbaneAustralia
  5. 5.Geoscience AustraliaCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations