Individual study: The effects of mineral fertilizer and organic manure on soil microbial community and diversity
Zhong W., Gu T., Wang W., Zhang B., Lin X., Huang Q. & Shen W. (2010) The effects of mineral fertilizer and organic manure on soil microbial community and diversity. Plant and Soil, 326, 511-522
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Amend the soil using a mix of organic and inorganic amendments
A randomized, replicated experiment from 1986 to 2007 on a sandy loam in China (Zhong et al. 2010) found higher organic carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium under manure (by 11.36, 1.25, 1.08 and 12.88 g/kg, respectively) and mixed applications (12.42, 1.36, 1.14 and 16.16 g/kg respectively), compared to the control. NPK (nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium) application alone increased carbon (by 11.3 g/kg) and nitrogen (by 1.3 g/kg) relative to the control. Microbial biomass was highest in the mixed and manure-only (265 and 252 nmol/g dry weight) applications, compared to nitrogen application (146 nmol/g dry weight) which had less than the control (198 nmol/g dry weight). Microbial diversity was highest under manure and mixed application (both with Shannon index ratings of 3.2) compared to the control (index of 2.8). Crop yield was highest under mixed (5,173 kg/ha) and manure-only (3,686 kg/ha) applications, followed by NPK alone (3,130 kg/ha). The experimental area was a maize Zea mays crop. Nine fertilizer treatments were replicated three times and included: control (no fertilizer), nitrogen fertilizer, phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen/phosphorus, nitrogen/potassium, nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium (NPK), organic manure (urea, calcium phosphate and composted pig manure) and manure plus NPK (mixed). Soils were sampled in each plot to 20 cm depth.