Changes in the microbial activity of an arid soil amended with urban organic wastes
Changes produced in the biological characteristics of an arid soil by the addition of various urban wastes (municipal solid waste, sewage sludge and compost) at different doses, were evaluated during a 360-day incubation experiment. The addition of organic materials to the soil increased the values of biomass carbon, basal respiration, biomass C/total organic C ratio and metabolic quotient (qCO2), indicating the activation of soil microorganisms. These biological parameters showed a decreasing tendency with time. Nevertheless, their values in amended soils were higher than in control soil, which clearly indicates the improvement of soil biological quality brought about by the organic amendment. This favorable effect on soil biological activity was more noticeable with the addition of fresh wastes (municipal solid waste or sewage sludge) than with compost. In turn, this effect was more permanent when the soil was amended with municipal solid waste than when it was amended with sewage sludge.
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