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A microcosm approach to assessing the effects of earthworm inoculation and oat cover cropping on CO2 fluxes and biological properties in an amended semiarid soil



A microcosm approach to assessing the effects of earthworm inoculation and oat cover cropping on CO2 fluxes and biological properties in an amended semiarid soil



Chemosphere 59(11): 1625-1631



We designed a microcosm experiment to assess the influence of inoculation with Eisenia foetida earthworms and the establishment of an Avena sativa cover crop on biological (enzyme activities and labile carbon fractions) soil quality indicators in a soil treated with a composted organic residue, and to determine the contribution of these treatments to carbon dioxide emissions from the soil to the atmosphere of the microcosm. The microcosms were incubated for 53 days under 28 degrees C/18 degrees C day/night temperatures. The addition of earthworms and the planting of A. sativa increased dehydrogenase activity of compost amended soil by about 44% after 23 days of incubation. The metabolic potential, calculated as the ratio dehydrogenase activity/water soluble C, was higher in the compost amended soil planted with A. sativa. The highest total amount of CO2-C evolved occurred in the soil treated with composted residue and earthworms (about 40% of the total amount of CO2 evolved came from earthworm activity). The planting of A. sativa increased the decomposition rate constant of organic matter in the amended soil but decreased the potentially mineralizable C pool. In conclusion, the establishment of an A. sativa cover crop and the addition of E. foetida to a degraded agricultural soil treated with composted residue were effective treatments for improving the biological and biochemical quality and the metabolic potential of the soil.

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Accession: 004018304

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 15894048

DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2004.12.032


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