Eurasian Soil Science

, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 536–542 | Cite as

The microbial biomass in paleosols buried under kurgans and in recent soils in the steppe zone of the Lower Volga region

  • N. N. Kashirskaya
  • T. E. Khomutova
  • T. S. Demkina
  • V. A. Demkin
Soil Biology


The total microbial biomass (TMB) was assessed in the chestnut and light chestnut soils and in the paleosols under burial mounds (steppe kurgans) in the Lower Volga region on the basis of data on the organic carbon content in the extracted microbial fraction supplemented with the data on the extraction completeness as a conversion coefficient. The completeness of the microbial fraction extraction was determined by direct counting of the microbial cells and colony-forming units (on plates with soil agar). The total microbial biomass varied from 400 to 6600 μg of C/soil. Its values in the buried soils were 3–5 times lower than those in the surface soils. The TMB distribution in the buried chestnut soil profile was close to that in its modern analogue (with the minimum in the B1 horizon). In the buried light chestnut paleosols, the TMB values usually increased down the profile; in the recent light chestnut soils, the maximum TMB values were found in the uppermost horizon.


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. N. Kashirskaya
    • 1
  • T. E. Khomutova
    • 1
  • T. S. Demkina
    • 1
  • V. A. Demkin
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil ScienceRussian Academy of SciencesPushchino, Moscow oblastRussia

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