Topsoil removal, compaction, and other practices in urban and industrial landscapes can degrade soil and soil ecosystem services. There is growing interest to remediate these for recreational and residential purposes, and urban waste materials offers potential to improve degraded soils. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare the effects of urban waste products on microbial properties of a degraded industrial soil. The soil amendments were vegetative yard waste compost (VC), biosolids (BioS), and a designer mix (DM) containing BioS, biochar (BC), and drinking water treatment residual (WTR). The experiment had a completely randomized design with following treatments initiated in 2009: control soil, VC, BioS-1 (202 Mg ha−1), BioS-2 (403 Mg ha−1), and DM (202 Mg BioS ha−1 plus BC and WTR). Soils (0–15-cm depth) were sampled in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and analyzed for enzyme activities (arylsulfatase, β-glucosaminidase, β-glucosidase, acid phosphatase, fluorescein diacetate, and urease) and soil microbial community structure using phospholipid fatty acid analysis (PLFA). In general, all organic amendments increased enzyme activities in 2009 with BioS treatments having the highest activity. However, this was followed by a decline in enzyme activities by 2011 that were still significantly higher than control. The fungal PLFA biomarkers were highest in the BioS treatments, whereas the control soil had the highest levels of the PLFA stress markers (P < 0.10). In conclusion, one-time addition of VC or BioS was most effective on enzyme activities; the BioS treatment significantly increased fungal biomass over the other treatments; addition of BioS to soils decreased microbial stress levels; and microbial measures showed no statistical differences between BioS and VC treatments after 3 years of treatment.
This is a preview of subscription content,to check access.
Access this article
Vegetative yard waste compost
A designer mix
Drinking water treatment residual
Phospholipid fatty acid
Acosta-Martinez, V., Zobeck, T. M., Gill, T. E., & Kennedy, A. C. (2003). Enzyme activities and microbial community structure in semiarid agricultural soils. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 38, 216–227.
Bååth, E., Frostegård, A., & Fritze, H. (1992). Soil bacterial biomass, activity, phospholipid fatty acid pattern, and pH tolerance in an area polluted with alkaline dust deposition. Applied Environmental Microbiology, 58, 4026–4031.
Bandick, A. K., & Dick, R. P. (1999). Field management on soil enzyme activities. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 31, 1471–1479.
Basta, N. T., Busalacchi, D., Dick, R., Tvergyak, J., & Lanno, R. (2012). Ecosystem services study of degraded soils amended with biosolids. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Final Report Project 1273877, June (2012). pp79.
Beesley, L., Moreno-Jiménez, E., & Gomez-Eyles, J. L. (2010). Effects of biochar and greenwaste compost amendments on mobility, bioavailability and toxicity of inorganic and organic contaminants in a multi-element polluted soil. Environmental Pollution, 158, 2282–2287.
Beesley, L., Moreno-Jiménez, E., Gomez-Eyles, J. L., Harris, E., Robinson, B., & Sizmur, T. (2011). A review of biochars’ potential role in the remediation, revegetation and restoration of contaminated soils. Environmental Pollution, 159, 3268–3282.
Bernal, M. P., Clemente, R., & Walker, D. J., (2006). The role of organic amendment in the bioremediation of heavy metal polluted soils. In Gore, R.W. (Ed.), Environmental Research at the Leading Edge. Nova Science, pp1-60.
Bligh, E. G., & Dyer, W. J. (1959). A rapid method of total lipid extraction and purification. Canadian Journal of Biochemistry and Physiology, 37, 911–917.
Bossio, D. A., & Scow, K. M. (1998). Impacts of carbon and flooding on soil microbial communities: phospholipid fatty acid profiles and substrate utilization patterns. Microbial Ecology, 35, 265–278.
Brown, S. L., Henry, C. L., Chaney, R., Compton, H., & DeVolder, P. S. (2003). Using municipal biosolids in combination with other residuals to restore metal-contaminated mining areas. Plant and Soil, 249, 203–215.
Busalacchi, D. (2012). Evaluation of biosolids as a soil amendment for use in ecological restoration. Columbus: M.S. Thesis, The Ohio State University.
City of Chicago. (2002). Calumet Area Land Use Plan. http://naturalsystems.uchicago.edu/urbanecosystems/calumet/cdrom /plans/CalumetLandUsePlan Chicago, Il.
Darby, H. M., Stone, A. G., & Dick, R. P. (2006). Compost and manure mediated impacts on soilborne pathogens and soil quality. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 70, 347–358.
de Boer, W., Folman, L. B., Summerbell, R. C., & Boddy, L. (2005). Living in a fungal world: impact of fungi on soil bacterial niche development. FEMS Microbiology Reviews, 29, 795–811.
Deng, S. P., & Tabatabai, M. A. (1997). Effect of tillage and residue management on enzyme activities in soils: III. Phosphatases and arylsulfatase. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 24, 141–146.
Dick, R. P. (1994). Soil enzyme activities as indicators of soil quality. pp107–124. In Doran, J. W., et al. (eds.), Defining Soil Quality for a Sustainable Environment. SSSA Special Publication No. 35. American Society of Agronomy.
Eivazi, F., & Tabatabai, M. A. (1977). Phosphatases in soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 9, 167–172.
Eivazi, F., & Tabatabai, M. A. (1988). Glucosidases and galactosidases in soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 20, 601–606.
Ekenler, M., & Tabatabai, M. A. (2002). β -Glucosaminidase activity of soils: effect of cropping systems and its relationship to nitrogen mineralization. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 36, 367–376.
Ekenler, M., & Tabatabai, M. A. (2004). β -Glucosaminidase activity as an index of nitrogen mineralization in soils. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 35, 1081–1094.
Frostegård, A., Tunlid, A., & Bååth, E. (1991). Microbial biomass measured as total lipid phosphate in soils of different organic content. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 14, 151–163.
García-Gil, J. C., Plaza, C., Senesi, N., Brunetti, G., & Polo, A. (2004). Effects of sewage sludge amendment on humic acids and microbiological properties of a semiarid Mediterranean soil. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 39, 320–328.
Goering, K. H., & Van Soest, P. J. (1970). Forage fiber analyses: Apparatus, reagents, procedure, and some applications. Washington, D.C.: ARS U.S. Department Agricultural Handbook. No. 379.
Green, V. S., Stott, D. E., & Diack, M. (2005). Assay for fluorescein diacetate hydrolytic activity: optimization for soil samples. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 38, 693–701.
Gupta, V. V. S. R., & Germida, J. J. (1988). Distribution of microbial biomass and its activity in different soil aggregate size. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 20, 777–786.
Hammel, K. E. (1997). Fungal degradation of lignin. In G. Cadish & K. E. Giller (Eds.), Driven by nature: Plant litter quality and decomposition (pp. 33–45). Wallingford: CAB International.
Heanes, D. L. (1984). Determination of total organic-C in soils by an improved chromic acid digestion and spectrophotometric procedure. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 15, 1191–1213.
Hinojosa, M. B., Carreira, J. A., Garcia-Ruiz, R., & Dick, R. P. (2005). Microbial response to heavy metal-polluted soils: community analysis from phospholipid-linked fatty acids and ester-linked fatty acid extracts. Journal of Environmental Quality, 34, 1789–1800.
Juma, N. G., & Tabatabai, M. A. (1977). Effects of trace elements on phosphatase activity in soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 41, 343–346.
Kacprzak, M., & Stanczyk-Mazanek, E. (2003). Changes in the structure of fungal communities of soil treated with sewage sludge. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 38, 89–95.
Kandeler, E., Kampichler, C., & Horak, O. (1996). Influence of heavy metals on the functional diversity of soil microbial communities. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 23, 299–306.
Kaur, A., Chaudhary, A., Kaur, A., Choudhary, R., & Kaushik, R. (2005). Phospholipid fatty acid: a bioindicator of environment monitoring and assessment in soil ecosystem. Current Science, 89, 1103–1112.
Kizilkaya, R., & Bayrakli, B. (2005). Effects of N-enriched sewage on soil enzyme activities. Applied Soil Ecology, 30, 192–202.
Knight, T. R., & Dick, R. P. (2004). Differentiating microbial and stabilized b-glucosidaseactivity relative to soil quality. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 36, 2089–2096.
Marschner, P., Kandeler, E., & Marschner, B. (2003). Structure and function of the soil microbial community in a long-term fertilizer experiment. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 35, 453–461.
Mebius, L. J. (1960). A rapid method for the determination of organic carbon in soil. Analytica Chimica Acta, 22, 120–121.
Mehlich, A. (1984). Mehlich-3 soil test extractant: a modification of Mehlich-2 extractant. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 15, 1409–1416.
Miller, M., Palojarvi, A., Ranger, A., Reeslev, M., & Kjùller, A. (1998). The use of fluorogenic substrates to measure fungal presence and activity in soil. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 64, 613–617.
Ndiaye, E. L., Sandeno, J. M., McGrath, D., & Dick, R. P. (2000). Integrative biological indicators for detecting change in soil quality. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture, 15, 26–36.
Nelson, D. W., & Sommers, L. E. (1996). Total carbon, organic carbon, and organic matter. In A. L. Page (Ed.), Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 2. Chemical and microbiological properties (2nd ed., pp. 961–1010). Madison: American Society of Agronomy and Soil Science Society of America.
O'Connor, G. A., Elliott, H. A., Basta, N. T., Bastian, R. K., Pierzynski, G. M., Sims, R. C., & Smith, J. E., Jr. (2005). Sustainable land application: an overview. Journal of Environmental Quality, 34, 1–6.
Olander, L. P., & Vitousek, P. M. (2000). Regulation of soil phosphatase and chitinase activity by N and P availability. Biogeochemistry, 49, 175–190.
Parham, J. A., & Deng, S. P. (2000). Detection, quantification and characterization of b- glucosaminidase activity in soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 32, 1183–1190.
Perez de Mora, A., Ortega-Calvo, J. J., Cabrera, F., & Madejon, E. (2005). Changes in enzyme activities and microbial biomass after “in-situ” remediation of a heavy metal-contaminated soil. Applied Soil Ecology, 28, 125–137.
Perucci, P. (1991). Enzyme activity and microbial biomass in a field soil amended with municipal refuse. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 14, 54–60.
Salomonova, S., Lamacova, J., Rulik, M., Rolcik, J., Cap, L., Bednar, P., & Bartak, P. (2003). Determination of phospholipid fatty acids in sediments. Acta Universitatis Palackianae Olomucensis Facultas Rerum Naturalium: Chemica, 42, 39–49.
SAS Institute (2011). SAS user’s guide: Statistics. Cary, NC: SAS Inst.
Schnürer, J., & Rosswall, T. (1982). Fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis as a measure of total microbial activity in soil and litter. Applied Environmental Microbiology, 43, 1256.
Schutter, M. E., & Dick, R. P. (2000). Comparison of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) methods for characterizing microbial communities. Soil Science Society of American Journal, 64, 1659–1668.
Serra-Wittling, C., Houot, S., & Barriuso, E. (1995). Soil enzymatic response to addition of municipal solid-waste compost. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 20, 226–236.
Speir, T. W., Van Schaik, A. P., Jones, A. R., & Kettles, H. A. (2003). Temporal response of soil biochemical properties in a pastoral soil after cultivation following high application rates of undigested sewage sludge. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 38, 377–385.
Tabatabai, M. A., & Bremner, J. M. (1969). Use of p-nitrophenyl phosphate for assay of soil phosphatase activity. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 1, 301–307.
Tabatabai, M. A., & Bremner, J. M. (1970). Arylsulfatase activity of soils. Soil Science Society of America Procedures, 34, 225–229.
Tejada, M., Hernandez, M. T., & García, C. (2006). Application of two organic amendments on soil restoration: effects on the soil biological properties. Journal of Environmental Quality, 35, 1010–1017.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (1991). Interagency policy on beneficial use of municipal sewage sludge on federal land; notice. Federal Registrar, 56, 30448–30450.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2007a). Standards for the use and disposal of sewage sludge. USEPA, 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 503. Federal Registry, e-CFR.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2007b). The use of soil amendments for remediation, revitalization, and reuse. EPA 542-R-07-013 December 2007. www.epa.gov.
Uchimiya, M., Lima, I. M., Klasson, K. T., & Wartelle, L. H. (2010). Contaminant immobilization and nutrient release by biochar soil amendment: roles of natural organic matter. Chemosphere, 80, 935–940.
Whalen, J. K., Hu, Q., & Liu, A. (2003). Compost applications increase water-stable aggregates in conventional and no-tillage systems. Soil Science Society of American Journal, 67, 1842–1847.
Zaller, J. G., & Kopke, U. (2004). Effects of traditional and biodynamic farmyard manure amendment on yields, soil chemical, biochemical and biological properties in a long-term field experiment. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 40, 222–229.
Zelles, L. (1999). Fatty acid patterns of phospholipids and lipopolysaccharides in the characterization of microbial communities in soil: a review. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 29, 11–129.
This research was supported in part by the Ecosystem Services Study of Degraded Soils Amended with Biosolids Program (Requisition number 1273877), Division of Monitoring and Research of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Chicago, USA.
About this article
Cite this article
Carlson, J., Saxena, J., Basta, N. et al. Application of organic amendments to restore degraded soil: effects on soil microbial properties. Environ Monit Assess 187, 109 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-015-4293-0