Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 303–307 | Cite as

Long-term effects of organic farming on fungal and bacterial residues in relation to microbial energy metabolism

  • Rainer Georg JoergensenEmail author
  • Paul Mäder
  • Andreas Fließbach
Short Communication


Samples from the bio-dynamic, bio-organic, and conventional trial, Therwil, Switzerland, were analyzed with the aim of determining the effects of organic land use management on the energy metabolism of the soil microbial biomass and on the fraction of microbial residues. The contents of adenylates, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), glucosamine, muramic acid, and galactosamine were significantly largest in the biodynamic organic farming (BYODIN) treatment and significantly lowest in the conventional farming treatment with inorganic fertilization (CONMIN). In contrast, the ergosterol-to-ATP ratio and fungal C-to-bacterial C ratios were significantly lowest in the BYODIN treatment and significantly largest in the CONMIN treatment. No clear treatment effects were observed for the ergosterol content and the adenylate energy charge (AEC), the ATP-to-microbial biomass C ratio and the ergosterol-to-fungal C ratio. Ergosterol, an indicator for saprotrophic fungal biomass, and fungal residues were significantly correlated. The microbial biomass carbon-to-nitrogen ratio showed a negative relationship with the AEC and strong positive relationships with the ratios ergosterol-to-microbial biomass C, ergosterol-to-ATP and fungal C-to-bacterial C. In conclusion, the long-term application of farmyard manure in combination with organic farming practices led to an increased accumulation of bacterial residues.


DOK trial Amino sugars Ergosterol Adenylates ATP 



The technical assistance of Gabriele Dormann and Matthias Wollrath is highly appreciated. The Agilent 1100 HPLC equipment was provided by the Michael-Foundation, Darmstadt and the GaW, Gesellschaft für angewandte Wissenschaft, Köln to the late Edwin Scheller. We owe him a great depth of gratitude.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rainer Georg Joergensen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paul Mäder
    • 2
  • Andreas Fließbach
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Soil Biology and Plant NutritionUniversity of KasselWitzenhausenGermany
  2. 2.FiBL, AckerstrasseFrickSwitzerland

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