Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 373–377 | Cite as

Changes in soil microbial properties with no-tillage in Chinese cropping systems

  • Min Huang
  • Ligeng JiangEmail author
  • Yingbin ZouEmail author
  • Shihong Xu
  • Guofu Deng


No-tillage (NT) has revolutionized agricultural systems because it has potential benefits including soil conservation and reduced production costs though saving in fuel, equipment, and labor. Soil quality is of great importance in determining the sustainability of land management systems, and soil microbial properties are becoming increasingly used to assess the effect of farming practices on soil quality due to their quick response, high sensitivity, ecological relevance, and capacity to provide information that integrates many environmental factors. In China, research and application of NT have developed quickly since 1970s. Numerous studies have been conducted in this country to evaluate the effect of NT on soil microbial properties. From these studies, it is evident that NT can lead to an increase in soil microbial size or activity or both and a consequent increase in soil microbial biomass in upland cropping systems. However, there are still several issues that remain unaddressed or inadequately specified. Further investigations are needed (1) to determine the effect of NT on soil microbial diversity by using molecular biological techniques in both upland and rice-based cropping systems; (2) to fully understand the changes of soil microbial properties with NT in rice-based cropping systems, especially for double rice cropping systems; and (3) to clarify the relationship between rhizosphere microbial properties and crop growth in NT rice cropping systems.


Chinese cropping systems No-tillage Soil microbial properties 



This work was supported by the Scientific Research Foundation of Guangxi University (Grant No. XBZ120741), the Bagui Scholar Program of Guangxi Province, and the Earmarked Fund for Modern Agro-Industry Technology of China (CARS-01-34).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Crop Cultivation and Farming SystemGuangxi UniversityNanningChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Hybrid RiceHunan Agricultural UniversityChangshaChina
  3. 3.Guangxi General Station of Agricultural Technology ExtensionNanningChina
  4. 4.Guangxi Academy of Agricultural SciencesNanningChina

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