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Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 753–759 | Cite as

Effect of 7-year application of a nitrification inhibitor, dicyandiamide (DCD), on soil microbial biomass, protease and deaminase activities, and the abundance of bacteria and archaea in pasture soils

  • Yan J. Guo
  • Hong J. DiEmail author
  • Keith C. Cameron
  • Bowen Li
  • Andriy Podolyan
  • Jim L. Moir
  • Ross M. Monaghan
  • L. Chris Smith
  • Maureen O’Callaghan
  • Saman Bowatte
  • Deanne Waugh
  • Ji-Zheng He
SOILS, SEC 5 • SOIL AND LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY • RESEARCH ARTICLE

Abstract

Purpose

The nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide (DCD) has been shown to be highly effective in reducing nitrate (NO3 ) leaching and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions when used to treat grazed pasture soils. However, there have been few studies on the possible effects of long-term DCD use on other soil enzyme activities or the abundance of the general soil microbial communities. The objective of this study was to determine possible effects of long-term DCD use on key soil enzyme activities involved in the nitrogen (N) cycle and the abundance of bacteria and archaea in grazed pasture soils.

Materials and methods

Three field sites used for this study had been treated with DCD for 7 years in field plot experiments. The three pasture soils from three different regions across New Zealand were Pukemutu silt loam in Southland in the southern South Island, Horotiu silt loam in the Waikato in the central North Island and Templeton silt loam in Canterbury in the central South Island. Control and DCD-treated plots were sampled to analyse soil pH, microbial biomass C and N, protease and deaminase activity, and the abundance of bacteria and archaea.

Results and discussion

The three soils varied significantly in the microbial biomass C (858 to 542 μg C g−1 soil) and biomass N (63 to 28 μg N g−1), protease (361 to 694 μg tyrosine g−1 soil h−1) and deaminase (4.3 to 5.6 μg NH4 + g−1 soil h−1) activity, and bacteria (bacterial 16S rRNA gene copy number: 1.64 × 109 to 2.77 × 109 g−1 soil) and archaea (archaeal 16S rRNA gene copy number: 2.67 × 107 to 3.01 × 108 g−1 soil) abundance. However, 7 years of DCD use did not significantly affect these microbial population abundance and enzymatic activities. Soil pH values were also not significantly affected by the long-term DCD use.

Conclusions

These results support the hypothesis that DCD is a specific enzyme inhibitor for ammonia oxidation and does not affect other non-target microbial and enzyme activities. The DCD nitrification inhibitor technology, therefore, appears to be an effective mitigation technology for nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emissions in grazed pasture soils with no adverse impacts on the abundance of bacteria and archaea and key enzyme activities.

Keywords

Archaea Bacteria Dicyandiamide Enzyme activity Microbial abundance Microbial biomass Nitrification inhibitor 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Research Centre for funding this programme, and the China Scholarships Council for funding Yan-Jie Guo to study in New Zealand; and Trevor Hendry, Steve Moore, Neil Smith, Nigel Beale, Carole Barlow, Jie Lei and Roger Atkinson of Lincoln University, and Chris Roach and Rodger Jensen of DairyNZ in Hamilton for technical assistance.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan J. Guo
    • 1
  • Hong J. Di
    • 2
    Email author
  • Keith C. Cameron
    • 2
  • Bowen Li
    • 1
  • Andriy Podolyan
    • 2
  • Jim L. Moir
    • 2
  • Ross M. Monaghan
    • 3
  • L. Chris Smith
    • 3
  • Maureen O’Callaghan
    • 4
  • Saman Bowatte
    • 5
  • Deanne Waugh
    • 6
  • Ji-Zheng He
    • 7
  1. 1.College of Resources and Environmental ScienceAgricultural University of HebeiBaodingChina
  2. 2.Centre for Soil and Environmental ResearchLincoln UniversityChristchurchNew Zealand
  3. 3.AgResearchInvermayMosgielNew Zealand
  4. 4.AgResearchLincoln Research CentreChristchurchNew Zealand
  5. 5.AgResearch Ltd.Grasslands Research CentrePalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  6. 6.DairyNZHamiltonNew Zealand
  7. 7.Research Centre for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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