Effect of nitrogen amendments on microbial biomass, above-ground biomass and nematode population in the Negev Desert soil

A. Alon, Y. Steinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nitrogen amendments (0, 25, 50 and 100 kg NH4NO3/ha) were used to study the responses of primary production, microbial biomass and nematode population in desert soil. The study was conducted in the Israeli Negev Desert, a region characterized by low and randomly distributed rainfall. Over a 1-year study period, nitrogen amendments resulted in a significant (p < 0.01) increase in soil microbial biomass. Soil microbial biomass also increased concomitantly with the increase in soil organic matter. The number of free-living nematodes in the soil increased with the increase in soil moisture, ranging from 43,000 individuals per square metre at the end of the summer to 351,000 individuals per square metre during the rainy season. No significant correlation was found between the nitrogen treatments and the nematode population, whereas a significant positive correlation was found between the nitrogen amendments and the above-ground biomass (r2 = 0.94, p < 0.03). The nitrate proportion of the total soluble nitrogen in the soil also increased with the increase in soil moisture. This study provides baseline data for nitrogen amendments on soil microbial status, as well as insights into the importance of nitrogen in fertility in arid environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-441
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1999

Keywords

  • Microbial biomass
  • Nematode population
  • Nitrogen amendments
  • Primary production
  • qCO

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