Changes in soil microbial biomass with manure application in cropping systems: A meta-analysis

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Ren, F., Sun, N., Xu, M., Zhang, X., Wu, L. and Xu, M. 2019. Changes in soil microbial biomass with manure application in cropping systems: A meta-analysis. Soil & Tillage Research. 194, p. 104291.

AuthorsRen, F., Sun, N., Xu, M., Zhang, X., Wu, L. and Xu, M.

Soil microbial biomass carbon (SMBC) and nitrogen (SMBN) are important indices of soil bio-fertility. While intensively managed cropping systems can reduce microbial biomass, application of manure is a potential way to rebuilt microbial biomass and improve soil functions. However, the responses of SMBC and SMBN to manure application relative to mineral fertilizers (NPK) in Chinese cropping systems remains unclear. We conducted a meta-analysis based on 103 peer-reviewed publications with 1448 paired observations to identify the degree to which climate types, soil properties and agricultural managements regulate the responses of microbial biomass to manure amendment relative to NPK. The results indicated that manure application increased SMBC, SMBN, SMBC/soil organic carbon (SOC) and SMBN/soil total nitrogen (TN) by 40%, 55%, 16% and 21%, respectively, across all the observations compared to NPK. SMBC/SMBN under manure amendment (6.58 in average) was lower than that in NPK (7.86 in average). Manure-related factors, e.g. manure types, duration of application, manure-C and N input rates, were the strongest regulators of the response of microbial biomass. Soil properties and climates also contributed to considerable degrees of variation in microbial biomass response based on variance partitioning analysis (VPA). Results of the random forest (RF) models showed that manure type, application rate (manure-C and N input) as well as soil initial properties (SOC, TN and clay contents) were likely the predominant factors controlling the response of microbial biomass to manure application. Our study indicates that manure application can be an effective way to restore the loss of microbial biomass due to intensive application of NPK, yet variations in response are determined by specific manure type, application rate, as well as local conditions of climate and inherent soil properties.

KeywordsMicrobial biomass ; Manure; Mineral fertilizer; Chinese cropland; Meta-analysis
Year of Publication2019
JournalSoil & Tillage Research
Journal citation194, p. 104291
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
National Natural Science Foundation of China
National Key Research and Development Program of China
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 3 (WP3) - Sustainable intensification - optimisation at multiple scales
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Print18 Jun 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted09 Jun 2019

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