Plant and Soil

, Volume 386, Issue 1–2, pp 223–236 | Cite as

Organic amendment effects on potato productivity and quality are related to soil microbial activity

  • H. T. Ninh
  • A. S. Grandy
  • K. Wickings
  • S. S. Snapp
  • W. Kirk
  • J. Hao
Regular Article



Applying manure to row-crop systems can reduce inorganic fertilizer dependence and enhance soil biology and crop yields. However, it remains unclear whether low manure application rates or semi-annual application rates can provide these benefits. Our objective was to evaluate the effects of variable rates and timing of manure application on soil microbial processes and crop performance in a potato-corn cropping system.


We tested the effects of five manure application rates of 0.0 (Ctrl), 1.54 (T1), 3.08 (T2), 6.16 (T3), and 12.32 (T4) Mg C ha−1 on potato productivity, severity of common scab, and soil biological processes.


The highest rates of manure application consistently increased crop yields but even the lowest rate (1.54 Mg C ha−1) increased potato and corn yields. The severity of common scab incidence on daughter tubers was reduced by treatments T2, T3, and T4 in year one but was unaffected by any treatment in year two. Yield increases and reduced common scab severity were related to increased activities of C- and N-acquiring enzymes and microbial biomass C and N.


Manure application rates of <2 Mg C ha−1 can provide crop and soil benefits that appear to increase with multiple applications, while higher application rates provide stronger and more consistent effects on yields, and especially soil biological properties related to nutrient cycling and organic matter dynamics.


Manure Soil organic matter Potato Enzymes Microbial biomass Potato common scab 

Supplementary material

11104_2014_2223_MOESM1_ESM.doc (106 kb)
Fig S1(DOC 105 kb)
11104_2014_2223_MOESM2_ESM.doc (66 kb)
Fig S2(DOC 66 kb)
11104_2014_2223_MOESM3_ESM.doc (90 kb)
Fig S3(DOC 90 kb)
11104_2014_2223_MOESM4_ESM.doc (162 kb)
Fig S4(DOC 162 kb)
11104_2014_2223_MOESM5_ESM.doc (150 kb)
Fig S5(DOC 149 kb)
11104_2014_2223_MOESM6_ESM.doc (101 kb)
Fig S6(DOC 101 kb)
11104_2014_2223_MOESM7_ESM.doc (42 kb)
Table S1(DOC 42 kb)
11104_2014_2223_MOESM8_ESM.doc (40 kb)
Table S2(DOC 39 kb)
11104_2014_2223_MOESM9_ESM.doc (40 kb)
Table S3(DOC 40 kb)
11104_2014_2223_MOESM10_ESM.doc (66 kb)
Table S4(DOC 65 kb)


  1. Acosta-Martinez V, Mikha MM, Vigil MF (2007) Microbial communities and enzyme activities in soils under alternative crop rotations compared to wheat-fallow for the Central Great Plains. Appl Soil Ecol 37:41–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Angers DA, Edwards LM, Sanderson JB, Bissonnette N (1999) Soil organic matter quality and aggregate stability under eight potato cropping sequences in a fine sandy loam of Prince Edward Island. Can J Soil Sci 79:411–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bailey KL, Lazarovits G (2003) Suppressing soil-borne diseases with residue management and organic amendments. Soil Tillage Res 72:169–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beck T, Joergensen RG, Kandeler E, Makeschin F, Nuss E, Oberholzer HR, Scheu S (1997) An inter-laboratory comparison of ten different ways of measuring soil microbial biomass C. Soil Biol Biochem 29:1023–1032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bernard E, Larkin RP, Tavantzis S, Erich MS, Alyokhin A, Gross SD (2014) Rapeseed rotation, compost and biocontrol amendments reduce soilborne diseases and increase tuber yield in organic and conventional potato production systems. Plant Soil 374:611–627. doi:10.1007/s11104-013-1909-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowden CL, Evanylo GK, Zhang X, Ervin EH, Seiler JR (2010) Soil carbon and physiological responses of corn and soybean to organic amendments. Compost Sci Util 18:162–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brookes PC, Landman A, Pruden G, Jenkinson DS (1985) Chloroform fumigation and the release of soil nitrogen: A rapid direct extraction method to measure microbial biomass nitrogen in soil. Soil Biol Biochem 17:837–842CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carter MR (2007) Long-term influence of compost on available water capacity of a fine sandy loam in a potato rotation. Can J Soil Sci 87:535–539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carter MR, Kunelius HT, Sanderson JB, Kimpinski J, Platt HW, Bolinder MA (2003) Productivity parameters and soil health dynamics under long-term 2-year potato rotations in Atlantic Canada. Soil Tillage Res 72:153–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carter MR, Sanderson JB, MacLeod JA (2004) Influence of compost on the physical properties and organic matter fractions of a fine sandy loam throughout the cycle of a potato rotation. Can J Soil Sci 84:211–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Celik I, Ortas I, Kilic S (2004) Effects of compost, mycorrhiza, manure and fertilizer on some physical properties of a Chromoxerert soil. Soil Till Res 78:59–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Conn KL, Lazarovits G (1999) Impact of animal manures on verticillium wilt, potato scab, and soil microbial populations. Can J Plant Pathol 21:81–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davis JR, Huisman OC, Everson DO, Schneider AT (2001) Verticillium wilt of potato: a model of key factors related to disease severity and tuber yield in Southeastern Idaho. Am J Potato Res 78:291–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De Nobili M, Contin M, Mondini C, Brookes PC (2001) Soil microbial biomass is triggered into activity by trace amounts of substrate. Soil Biol Biochem 33:1163–1170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Diacono M, Montemurro F (2010) Long-term effects of organic amendments on soil fertility. A review. Agron Sustain Dev 30:401–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Doane TA, Horwath WR (2003) Spectrophotometric determination of nitrate with a single reagent. Anal Lett 36:2713–2722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Driscoll J, Coombs J, Hammerschmidt R, Kirk W, Wanner L, Douches D (2009) Greenhouse and field nursery evaluation for potato common scab tolerance in a tetraploid population. Am J Potato Res 86:96–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Evanylo G, Sherony C, Spargo J, Starner D, Brosius M, Haering K (2008) Soil and water environmental effects of fertilizer-, manure-, and compost-based fertility practices in an organic vegetable cropping system. Agric Ecosyst Envrion 127:50–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fereidooni M, Raiesi F, Fallah S (2013) Ecological restoration of soil respiration, microbial biomass and enzyme activities through broiler litter application in a calcareous soil cropped with silage maize. Ecol Eng 58:266–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. German DP, Weintraub MN, Grandy AS, Lauber CL, Rinkes ZL, Allison SD (2012) Response to Steen and Ziervogel’s comment on “Optimization of hydrolytic and oxidative enzyme methods to ecosystem studies”. Soil Biol Biochem 43:1387–1397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grandy AS, Porter GA, Erich MS (2002) Organic amendment and rotation crop effects on the recovery of soil organic matter and aggregation in potato cropping systems. Soil Sci Soc Am J 66:1311–1319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Grandy AS, Neff JC, Weintraub MN (2007) Carbon structure and enzyme activities in alpine and forest ecosystems. Soil Biol Biochem 39:2701–2711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grandy AS, Strickland MS, Lauber CL, Bradford MA, Fierer N (2009) The influence of microbial communities, management, and soil texture on soil organic matter chemistry. Geoderma 150:278–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grosbellet C, Vidal-Beaudet L et al (2011) Improvement of soil structure formation by degradation of coarse organic matter. Geoderma 162(1–2):27–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hao JJ, Meng QX, Yin JF, Kirk WW (2009) Characterization of a New Streptomyces Strain, DS3024, that causes potato common scab. Plant Dis 93:1329–1334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hemmat A, Aghilinategh N, Rezainejad Y, Sadeghi M (2010) Long-term impacts of municipal solid waste compost, sewage sludge and farmyard manure application on organic carbon, bulk density and consistency limits of a calcareous soil in central Iran. Soil Till Res 108:43–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Honisch M, Hellmeier C, Weiss K (2002) Response of surface and subsurface water quality to land use changes. Geoderma 105:277–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Joergensen RG (2006) The fumigation-extraction method to estimate soil microbial biomass: Calibration of the KEC value. Soil Biol Biochem 28:25–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kallenbach C, Grandy AS (2011) Controls over soil microbial biomass responses to carbon amendments in agricultural systems: A meta-analysis. Agric Ecosyst Environ 144:241–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kinkel LL, Bowers JH, Shimizu K, Neeno-Eckwall EC, Schottel JL (1998) Quantitative relationships among thaxtomin A production, potato scab severity, and fatty acid composition in Streptomyces. Can J Microbiol 44:768–776PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Larkin RP, Tavantzis S (2013) Use of biocontrol organisms and compost amendments for improved control of soilborne diseases and increased potato production. Am J Potato Res 90:261–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Larkin RP, Griffin TS, Honeycutt CW (2010) Rotation and cover crop effects on soilborne potato diseases, tuber yield, and soil microbial communities. Plant Dis 94:1491–1502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Larkin RP, Honeycutt CW, Griffin TS, Olanya OM, Halloran JM, He Z (2011) Effects of different potato cropping system approaches and water management on soilborne diseases and soil microbial communities. Phytopathology 101:58–67PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Loria R, Kers J, Joshi M (2006) Evolution of plant pathogenicity in Streptomyces. Annu Rev Phytopathol 44:469–487PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Malik MA, Khan KS, Marschner P, Ali S (2013) Organic amendments differ in their effect on microbial biomass and activity and on P pools in alkaline soils. Biol Fertil Soils 49:415–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mallory EB, Porter GA (2007) Potato yield stability under contrasting soil management strategies. Agron J 99(2):501–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Meng Q, Yin J, Rosenzweig N (2012) Culture-Based Assessment of Microbial Communities in Soil Suppressive to Potato Common Scab. Plant Dis 96:712–717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Moulin A, Buckley K, Volkmar K (2011) Soil quality as affected by amendments in bean-potato rotations. Can J Soil Sci 91:533–542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Munoz-Arboleda F, Mylavarapu R, Hutchinson C, Portier K (2008) Nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in the perched ground water under seepage-irrigated potato cropping systems. J Environ Qual 37:387–394PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nyiraneza J, Snapp S (2007) Integrated management of inorganic and organic nitrogen and efficiency in potato systems. Soil Sci Soc Am J 71:1508–1515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Po EA, Snapp SS, Kravchenko AS (2010) Potato yield variability across the landscape. Agron J 102:885–894CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pritchett KA, Kennedy C et al (2011) Management Effects on Soil Quality in Organic Vegetable Systems in Western Washington. Soil Sci Soc Am J 75(2):605–615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Prunty L, Greenland R (1997) Nitrate leaching using two potato-corn N-fertilizer plans on sandy soil. Agric Ecosyst Environ 65:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rees HW, Chow TL, Loro PJ, Lavoie J, Monteith JO, Blaauw AA (2002) Hay mulching to reduce runoff and soil loss under intensive potato production in Northwestern New Brunswick, Canada. Can. J. Soil Sci 82:249–258Google Scholar
  45. Robertson GP, Coleman DC, Bledsoe CS, Sollins P (eds) (1999) Standard soil methods for long-term ecological research. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  46. Saiya-Cork KR, Sinsabaugh RL, Zak DR (2002) The effects of long term nitrogen deposition on extracellular enzyme activity in an Acer saccharum forest soil. Soil Biol Biochem 34:1309–1315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sinsabaugh RL, Reynolds H, Long TM (2000) Rapid assay for amidohydrolase (urease) activity in environmental samples. Soil Biol Biochem 32:2095–2097CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sinsabaugh RL, Lauber CL, Weintraub MN, Ahmed B, Allison SD, Crenshaw C, Contosta AR, Cusack D, Frey S, Gallo ME, Gartner TB, Hobbie SE, Holland K, Keeler BL, Powers JS, Stursova M, Takacs-Vesbach C, Waldrop MP, Wallenstein MD, Zak DR, Zeglin LH (2008) Stoichiometry of soil enzyme activity at global scale. Ecol Lett 11:1252–1264PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Smiciklas KD, Walker PM, Kelley TR (2008) Evaluation of compost for use as a soil amendment in corn and soybean production. Compost Sci Util 16:183–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Snapp S, Smucker D, Vitosh M. 2002. Nitrogen management for Michigan potatoes. Michigan State University Extension Bulletin E-2779.Google Scholar
  51. Wach MJ, Kers JA, Krasnoff SB, Loria R, Gibson DM (2005) Nitric oxide synthase inhibitors and nitric oxide donors modulate the biosynthesis of thaxtomin A, a nitrated phytotoxin produced by Streptomyces spp. Nitric Oxide 12:46–53PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wanner LA, Haynes KG (2009) Caught in the act: A field gone suppressive for common scab? Phytopathology 99:S138Google Scholar
  53. Zebarth BJ, Leclerc Y, Moreau G, Sanderson JB, Arsenault WJ, Botha EJ, Wang-Pruski G (2005) Estimation of soil nitrogen supply in potato fields using a plant bioassay approach. Can J Soil Sci 85:377–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ziadi N, Grant CA, Samson N, Nyiraneza J, Belanger G, Parent L-E (2011) Efficiency of controlled-release urea for a potato production system in Quebec, Canada. Agron J 103:60–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. T. Ninh
    • 1
  • A. S. Grandy
    • 2
  • K. Wickings
    • 3
  • S. S. Snapp
    • 4
  • W. Kirk
    • 5
  • J. Hao
    • 6
  1. 1.Agricultural Projects Management Board - Ministry of Agriculture and Rural DevelopmentHanoiVietnam
  2. 2.Department of Natural Resources and the EnvironmentUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Department of EntomologyCornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment StationGenevaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial SciencesW.K. Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State UniversityHickory CornersUSA
  5. 5.Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial SciencesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  6. 6.Department of Plant, Soil and Environmental SciencesUniversity of MaineOronoUSA

Personalised recommendations