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Soil microbial properties under N and P additions in a semi-arid, sandy grassland

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Abstract

Surface (0–15 cm) soil samples were collected from a semi-arid, sandy grassland in Keerqin Sandy Lands, Northeast China to study changes in soil microbial and chemical properties after five consecutive years of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) additions. Nitrogen and P additions and their interactions negligibly affected soil organic carbon and total N contents, while P addition significantly increased soil total P content. Soil pH was significantly decreased by N addition, which significantly increased net nitrification rate, whereas it did not affect net N mineralization rate. No significant effects of N and P additions and their interactions on basal respiration were detected. In addition, N addition significantly decreased microbial biomass C (MBC) and N, and thus microbial quotient, but increased dissolved organic C and microbial metabolic quotient due to the significant decrease of MBC. Our results suggest that in the mid-term the addition of N, but not P, can change soil microbial properties, with a possible decline in soil quality of semi-arid, sandy grasslands.

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Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (no. 2007CB106803) and the National Key Technologies R&D Program of China (nos. 2006BAD26B0201-1 and 2006BAC01A12). We thank Dr. Paolo Nannipieri and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions, which greatly helped improve the manuscript. We are also grateful to Gui-Yan Ai, He-Ming Lin, Jing-Shi Li, and Yun-Xia Liu for laboratory analyses.

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Correspondence to De-Hui Zeng.

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Li, LJ., Zeng, DH., Yu, ZY. et al. Soil microbial properties under N and P additions in a semi-arid, sandy grassland. Biol Fertil Soils 46, 653–658 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-010-0463-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-010-0463-y

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