Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 86, Issue 3, pp 391–399 | Cite as

Soil organic carbon fractions after 16-years of applications of fertilizers and organic manure in a Typic Rhodalfs in semi-arid tropics

  • K. BangerEmail author
  • G. S. Toor
  • A. Biswas
  • S. S. Sidhu
  • K. Sudhir
Research Article


Agricultural soils can act as a potential sink of the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere if managed properly by application of organic manures and balanced fertilizers. However, the rate of carbon (C) sequestration in soils is low in warm climates and thus the short term changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) contents are almost negligible. Therefore, the knowledge about other C fractions that are more sensitive or responsive and indicative of the early changes in SOC can help to determine the effect of the management practices on soil C sequestration. The objective of this study was to determine the soil C sequestration after 16-years of applications of chemical fertilizers and farmyard manure (FYM) to rice (Oryza sativa)—cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) rotation system in a sandy loam soil (Typic Rhodalfs). The treatments were—(1) one control (no fertilizer or FYM); (2) three chemical fertilizer treatments [100 kg N ha−1 (N), 100 kg N ha−1 + 50 kg P2O5 ha−1 (NP), 100 kg N ha−1 + 50 kg P2O5 ha−1 + 50 kg K2O ha−1 (NPK)]; (3) one integrated treatment [(50 kg N ha−1 + 25 kg P2O5 ha−1 + 25 K2O ha−1) + (50 kg N ha−1 from FYM)]; and (4) one organic treatment at10 Mg ha−1 FYM. Compared to the control treatment, the increase in SOC was 36, 33, and 19% greater in organic, integrated, and NPK treatments. The 16-years application of fertilizers and/or FYM resulted in much greater changes in water soluble C (WSC), microbial biomass C (MBC), light fraction of C (LFC), and particulate organic matter (POM) than SOC. Of the SOC, the proportion of POM was highest (24–35%), which was followed by LFC (12–14%), MBC (4.6–6.6%), and WSC (0.6–0.8%). The application of fertilizers and/or FYM increased the mean weight diameter of soil aggregates; thus provided physical protection to SOC from decomposition. Our results suggests that the application of fertilizers and/or FYM helps to sequester C in the soil and that the labile fractions of C can be used as indicators to determine the amount of C sequestered as a result of different management practices.


Soil organic carbon Organic matter Farmyard manure Light fraction carbon Microbial biomass carbon Water soluble carbon 



We are grateful to Mr. S. Thomas Bradley, Chemist, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Wimauma for proof reading the draft manuscript and offering valuable suggestions.


  1. Aoyama M, Angers DA, N’Dayegamiye A, Bissonnette N (1999) Protected organic matter in water-stable aggregates as affected by mineral fertilizer end manure applications. Can J Soil Sci 79:419–425Google Scholar
  2. Balota EL, Colozzi A, Andrade DS, Dick RP (2004) Long-term tillage and crop rotation effects on microbial biomass and C and N mineralization in a Brazilian Oxisol. Soil Till Res 77:137–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Banger K, Kukal SS, Toor G, Sudhir K, Hanumanthraju TH (2009) Impact of long-term additions of chemical fertilizers and farm yard manure on carbon and nitrogen sequestration under rice-cowpea cropping system in semi-arid tropics. Plant Soil 318:27–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beare MH, Cabrera ML, Hendrix PF, Coleman DC (1994) Aggregate-protected and unprotected organic-matter pools in conventional-tillage and no-tillage soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 58:787–795Google Scholar
  5. Bezdicek DF (1996) Development and evaluation of indicators for agroecosystem health. Agriculture in concert with the environment ACE research projects western region, 1991–1995, p 6Google Scholar
  6. Black CS, Evans DD, White JL, Ensminger LE, Clark FE (1965) Methods of soil analysis: part 1. Physical and mineralogical properties, including statistics of measurement and sampling. Am Soc Agronomy, Madison, WIGoogle Scholar
  7. Bolinder MA, Angers DA, Gregorich EG, Carter MR (1999) The response of soil quality indicators to conservation management. Can J Soil Sci 79:37–45Google Scholar
  8. Breslau K (2006) It can pay to be green: clean air means profit at the climate exchange. Newsweek 45Google Scholar
  9. Cambardella CA, Elliott ET (1992) Particulate soil organic-matter changes across a grassland cultivation sequence. Soil Sci Soc Am J 56:777–783CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cambardella CA, Elliott ET (1993) Carbon and nitrogen distribution in aggregates from cultivated and native grassland soils. Soil Sci Soc Am J 57:1071–1076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carter MR (1986) Microbial biomass as an index for tillage-induced changes in soil biological properties. Soil Till Res 7:29–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carter MR (1991) Ninhydrin-reactive N released by fumigation extraction method as a measure of microbial biomass under field conditions. Soil Biol Biochem 23:139–143. doi: 10.1016/0038-0717(91)90126-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chan KY (1997) Consequences of changes in particulate organic carbon in vertisols under pasture and cropping. Soil Sci Soc Am J 61:1376–1382Google Scholar
  14. Collins HP, Rasmussen PE, Douglas CL (1992) Crop-rotation and residue management effects on soil carbon and microbial dynamics. Soil Sci Soc Am J 56:783–788CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Field CB, Sarmiento J, Hales B (2007) The carbon cycle of north America in a global context. In: King AW, Dilling L, Zimmerman GP, Fairman DM, Houghton RA, Marland G, Rose AZ, Wilbanks TJ (eds). The first state of the carbon cycle report (SOCCR)-synthesis and assessment product 2.2, Report by the US Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, pp 21–28Google Scholar
  16. Follett RF (2001) Soil management concepts and carbon sequestration zin cropland soils. Soil Till Res 61:77–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Franzluebbers AJ, Arshad MA (1997) Particulate organic carbon content and potential mineralization as affected by tillage and texture. Soil Sci Soc Am J 61:1382–1386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Franzluebbers AJ, Hons FM, Zuberer DA (1995) Soil organic-carbon, microbial biomass, and mineralizable carbon and nitrogen in sorghum. Soil Sci Soc Am J 59:460–466Google Scholar
  19. Gregorich EG, Carter MR, Angers DA, Monreal CM, Ellert BH (1994) Towards a minimum data set to assess soil organic matter quality in agricultural soils. Can J Soil Sci 74:367–385Google Scholar
  20. Gregorich EG, Ellert BH, Drury CF, Liang BC (1996) Fertilization effects on soil organic matter turnover and corn residue C storage. Soil Sci Soc Am J 60:472–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gupta RK, Rao DLN (1994) Potential of wastelands for sequestering carbon by reforestation. Curr Sci 66:378–380Google Scholar
  22. Hartwig NL, Ammon HU (2002) 50th Anniversary—invited article—cover crops and living mulches. Weed Sci 50:688–699CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. IPCC (2000) Land use, land use change and forestry: summary for policy makers. IPCC special report. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  24. Janzen HH, Campbell CA, Bradt SA, Lafond GP, Smith TL (1992) Light fraction organic matter in soils from long term rotations. Soil Sci Soc Am J 56:1799–1806CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Janzen HH, Campbell CA, Izaurralde RC, Ellert BH, Juma N, McGill WB, Zenter RP (1998) Management effects on soil carbon storage in the Canadian prairies. Soil Till Res 47:181–195. doi: 10.1016/S0167-1987(98)00105-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kanazawa S, Filip Z (1986) Distribution of microorganisms, total biomass and enzyme activities in different particles of brown soil. Microb Ecol 12:205–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lal R (1999) Soil management and restoration for C sequestration to mitigate the accelerated greenhouse effect. Prog Environ Sci 1:307–326Google Scholar
  28. Lal R (2004a) Soil carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change. Geoderma 123:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lal R (2004b) Soil carbon sequestration impacts on global climate change and food security. Science 304:1623–1627CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Malhi SS, Gill KS (2002) Fertilizer N and P effects on root mass of brome grass, alfalfa and barley. J Sustain Agr 19:51–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mandal B, Ghoshal SK, Ghosh S, Saha S, Majumdar D, Talukdar NC, Ghosh TJ, Balaguravaiah D, Babu MVS, Singh AP, Raha P, Das DP, Sharma KL, Mandal UK, Kusuma GJ, Chaudhury J, Ghosh H, Samantaray RN, Mishra AK, Rout KK, Bhera, BB, Rout B (2005) Assessing soil quality for a few long-term experiments—an Indian initiative. In: Proceedings of international conference on soil, water environment quality—issues and strategies held during Jan 28 to Feb 1, 2005 at New Delhi, pp 278–281Google Scholar
  32. McGill WG, Cannon KR, Robertson JA, Cook FD (1986) Dynamics of soil microbial biomass and water soluble organic carbon in Breton L after 50 years of cropping of two rotations. Can J Soil Sci 66:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nyborg M, Malhi SS, Solberg ED, Izaurralde RC (1999) Carbon storage and light fraction C in a grassland Dark Gray Chernozem soil as influenced by N and S fertilization. Can J Soil Sci 79:317–320Google Scholar
  34. Oberthür S, Ott HE (2000) The Kyoto protocol: international climate policy for the 21st century. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  35. Package and Practices (1994) University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  36. Paul EA, Collins HP, Leavitt SW (2001) Dynamics of resistant soil carbon of midwestern agricultural soils measured by naturally occurring C-14 abundance. Geoderma 104:239–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Powlson DS, Brookes PC, Christensen BT (1987) Measurement of soil microbial biomass provides an early indication of changes in total soil organic-matter due to straw incorporation. Soil Biol Biochem 19:159–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Puget P, Chenu C, Balesdent J (1995) Total and young organic-matter distributions in aggregates of silty cultivated soils. Eur J Soil Sci 46:449–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rasmussen PE, Allmaras RR, Rohde CR, Roager NC (1980) Crop residue influence on soil carbon and nitrogen in a wheat-fallow system. Soil Sci Soc Am J 44:596–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rasool R, Kukal SS, Hira GS (2007) Soil physical fertility and crop performance as affected by long term application of FYM and inorganic fertilizers in rice–wheat system. Soil Till Res 96:64–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rochette P, Gregorich EG (1998) Dynamics of soil microbial biomass C, soluble organic C and CO2 evolution after three years of manure application. Can J Soil Sci 78:283–290Google Scholar
  42. Six J, Feller C, Denef K, Ogle SM, Moraes SCJ, Albrecht A (2002) Soil organic matter, biota and aggregation in temperate and tropical soils–effects of no-tillage. Agronomie 22:755–775CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Spaccini R, Zena A, Igwe CA, Mbagwu JSC, Piccolo A (2001) Carbohydrates in water-stable aggregates and particle size fractions of forested and cultivated soils in two contrasting tropical ecosystems. Biogeochem 53:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Stevenson FJ (1994) Humus chemistry: genesis, composition, reactions, 2nd edn. John Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  45. Tisdall JM, Oades JM (1982) Organic matter and water stable aggregates in soil. Soil Sci 33:141–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Walkley A, Black IA (1934) An examination of the Degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter, and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Sci 37:29–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wander MM, Traina SJ, Stinner BR, Peters SE (1994) Organic and conventional management effects on biologically active soil organic matter pools. Soil Sci Soc Am J 58:1130–1139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Watts CW, Whalley RW, Brookers PC, Devonshire JB, Whitmore AP (2005) Biological and physical processes that mediate micro aggregation of clays. Soil Sci 170:573–583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Yagi R, Ferreira ME, Cruz MCP, Barbosa JC (2005) Soil organic matter as a function of nitrogen fertilization in crop succession. Sci Agr 62:374–380Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Banger
    • 1
    Email author
  • G. S. Toor
    • 1
  • A. Biswas
    • 2
  • S. S. Sidhu
    • 3
  • K. Sudhir
    • 4
  1. 1.Soil and Water Quality Laboratory, Gulf Coast Research and Education CenterUniversity of FloridaWimaumaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Soil ScienceUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.Department of SoilsPunjab Agricultural UniversityLudhianaIndia
  4. 4.Department of Soil Science and Agricultural ChemistryUniversity of Agricultural SciencesBangaloreIndia

Personalised recommendations