Eurasian Soil Science

, Volume 47, Issue 9, pp 884–891 | Cite as

Biological activity of soddy-calcareous soils and cultural layers in Alanian settlements of the Kislovodsk basin

  • E. V. Chernysheva
  • N. N. Kashirskaya
  • D. S. Korobov
  • A. V. Borisov
Soil Biology


Microbiological investigations of cultural layers were performed in a settlement of the Alanian culture—Podkumskoe-2 (the 2nd–4th centuries AD). The present-day soddy-calcareous soils (rendzinas) used for different purposes were also studied near this settlement. The most significant changes in the initial characteristics of the soil microbial communities occurred under the residential influence more than 1500 years ago; these changes have been preserved until the present time. In the areas subjected to the anthropogenic impact, the total microbial biomass (the weighted average of 3720 μg C/g soil) was lower than that in the background soil. The minimal values of the microbial biomass were found in the soil of the pasture—2.5 times less than in the background soil. The urease activity of the cultural layer was higher than that of the soils nearby the settlement. Elevated values of the cellulose activity were also recorded only in the cultural layers. The current plowing has led to a significant decrease in the mycelium biomass of the microscopic fungi. In the soil of the fallow, the weighted average value of the fungal hyphae biomass along the profile was twice lower than that in the background soil and cultural layers of the settlement. The pasture first affected the active microbial biomass and, to a lesser extent, the amount of microscopic fungi.


microbial biomass enzyme activity cultural layers Northern Caucasus region Middle Ages 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Agroclimatic Resources of Stavropol Region (Gidromet. izd., Leningrad, 1971) [in Russian].Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. V. Borisov, V. A. Demkin, M. V. El’tsov, and Ya. G. Ryskov, “Dynamics of carbonates in the soils of the southeast of the Russian Plain in the historical time,” Aridn. Ekosist. 9(19–20), 54–64 (2003).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    A. V. Borisov, S. Peters, E. V. Chernysheva, D. S. Korobov, S. Reinkhol’d, “Chemical and microbiological properties of cultural layers of settlements of the Kobanskaya culture (XIII-IX centuries BC) in the area of Kislovodsk,” Vestn. Arkheol. Antropol. Etnograf., No. 4, 142–153 (2013).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    V. A. Demkin, Soil Science and Archaeology (ONTI NTsBI RAS, Pushchino, 1997) [in Russian].Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    T. S. Demkina, A. V. Borisov, and V. A. Demkin, “Microbial communities in the paleosols of archaeological monuments in the desert-steppe zone,” Eur. Soil Sci. 33(9), 978–986 (2000).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    T. S. Demkina, I. V. Popova, and V. A. Demkin, “Characterization of the microbial communities in the modern and buried under kurgans soils of solonetzic complexes in the dry steppes of the Lower Volga region,” Eur. Soil Sci. 46(7), 768–777 (2013).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    T. S. Demkina, T. E. Khomutova, N. N. Kashirskaya, I. V. Stretovich, V. A. Demkin, “Microbiological investigations of paleosols of archeological monuments in the steppe zone,” Eur. Soil Sci. 43(2), 194–201 (2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    T. G. Dobrovol’skaya, I. Yu. Chernov, and S. M. Lukin, “Bacterial diversity in virgin and plowed soils of the Vladimir oblast,” Eur. Soil Sci. 34(9), 975–979 (2001).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    I. V. Ivanov, Evolution of Soils of the Steppe Zone in the Holocene (Nauka, Moscow, 1992) [in Russian].Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    A. E. Ivanova, O. E. Marfenina, E. E. Kislova, and E. P. Zazovskaya, “Mycological characteristics of the cultural layer of a medieval settlement on soddy calcareous soils,” Eur. Soil Sci. 39(1), 53–61 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    K. Sh. Kazeev, S. I. Kolesnikov, and V. F. Val’kov, Biology of Soils of Southern Russia (Izd. TsVVR, Rostov-on-Don, 2004) [in Russian].Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    N. N. Kashirskaya, T. E. Khomutova, V. V. Dmitriev, V. I. Duda, N. E. Suzina, V. A. Demkin, “The morphology of cells and the biomass of microorganisms in the buried paleosols and modern steppe soils of the Lower Volga region,” Eur. Soil Sci. 43(10), 1140–1149 (2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    N. N. Kashirskaya, T. E. Khomutova, T. S. Demkina, K. A. Salmanova, Yu. S. Kuznetsova, V. A. Demkin, “Biological activity of the modern and buried chestnut soils of dry steppes,” Aridn. Ekosist. 19(55), 64–79 (2013).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    P. A. Kozhevin, L. M. Polyanskaya, and D. G. Zvyagi- ntsev, “Dynamics of different microorganisms in soil,” Mikrobiologiya 48(4), 490–494 (1979).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    L. V. Lysak, N. A. Semenova, M. A. Bulankina, I. S. Urusevskaya, N. N. Matinyan, “Bacteria in cultivated soils of monasteries in the taiga zone,” Eur. Soil Sci. 37(8), 853–(2004).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    O. E. Marfenina, Anthropogenic Ecology of Soil Fungi (Meditsina dlya vsekh, Moscow, 2005) [in Russian].Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    O. E. Marfenina, E. V. Gorbatovskaya, and M. V. Gorlenko, “Mycological characterization of the occupation deposits in excavated medieval Russian settlements,” Microbiology 70(6), 738–742 (2001).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    O. E. Marfenina, A. E. Ivanova, E. E. Kislova, E. P. Zazovskaya, I. Yu. Chernov, “Fungal communities in the soils of early medieval settlements in the taiga zone,” Eur. Soil Sci. 41(7), 749–758 (2008).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Methods of Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry, Ed. by D. G. Zvyagintsev (Izd. Mosk. Gos. Univ., Moscow, 1991) [in Russian].Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    E. E. Milanovskii, Neotectonics of the Caucasus, (Nedra, Moscow, 1968) [in Russian].Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    V. V. Novikov and A. L. Stepanov, “Biological activity of ancient cultivated soil with buried horizons (the Iverskii Monastery, XVII century),” Microbiology 69(3), 364–368 (2000).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    L. M. Polyanskaya and D. G. Zvyagintsev, “The Content and Composition of Microbial Biomass as an Index of the Ecological Status of Soil,” Eur. Soil Sci. 38(6), 625–633 (2005).Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    L. M. Polyanskaya, S. M. Lukin, and D. G. Zvyagintsev, “The Change in Composition of Microbial Biomass in Cultivated Soils,” Eur. Soil Sci. 30(2), 172–177 (1997).Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    L. M. Polyanskaya, N. I. Sukhanova, K. V. Chakmazyan, and D. G. Zvyagintsev, “Changes in the structure of soil microbial biomass under fallow,” Eur. Soil Sci. 45(7), 710–716 (2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    T. E. Khomutova, T. S. Demkina, and V. A. Demkin, “Estimation of the Total and Active Microbial Biomasses in Buried Subkurgan Paleosols of Different Ages,” Microbiology 73(2), 196–201 (2004).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    T. E. Khomutova, N. N. Kashirskaya, and V. A. Demkin, “Assessment of the living and total biomass of microbial communities in the background chestnut soil and in the paleosols under burial mounds,” Eur. Soil Sci. 44(12), 1373–1380 (2011).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    J. P. E. Anderson and K. H. Domsch, “A physiological method for the quantitative measurement of microbial biomass in soils,” Soil Biol. Biochem. 10(3), 215–221 (1978).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    J. P. E. Anderson and K. H. Domsch, “Quantities of plant nutrients in the microbial biomass of selected soils,” Soil Sci. 130, 211–216 (1980).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    R. P. Dick, J. A. Sandor, and N. S. Eash, “Soil enzyme activities after 1500 years of terrace agriculture in the Colca Valley, Peru,” Agric. Ecosyst. Environm. 50(2), 123–131 (1994).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    E. Kandeler and H. Gerber, “Short-term assay of urease activity using colorimetric determination of ammonium,” Biol. Fertil. Soils 6(1), 68–72 (1988).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    K. N. Paulson and L. T. Kurtz, “Michaelis constant of soil urease,” Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 34(1), 70–72 (1970).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. V. Chernysheva
    • 1
  • N. N. Kashirskaya
    • 1
  • D. S. Korobov
    • 2
  • A. V. Borisov
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems of Soil ScienceRussian Academy of SciencesPushchino, Moscow oblastRussia
  2. 2.Institute of ArcheologyRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

Personalised recommendations