Submitted to: Applied Soil Ecology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/23/2009
Publication Date: 6/17/2009
Citation: Haney, R.L., Franzluebbers, A.J. 2009. Soil CO2 evolution: Response from arginine additions. Applied Soil Ecology. 42(3):324-327. Interpretive Summary: Soil microorganisms are abundant in soil may be used as a tool to estimate the relative health and fertility of a given soil. Estimating the number of microorganisms in a given soil is a difficult task. Current methods are time-consuming and laborious and often involve chemical extractions or the use of chloroform. Soils are naturally dried and rewetted by the sun and rain and through the method described in this paper we propose to mimic the drying/rewetting process in the laboratory to get a rapid and reliable method for estimating soil microorganisms. This method can provide a tool for soil testing labs to evaluate management impacts on the health of the soil they caretake.
Technical Abstract: Short-term response of soil C mineralization following drying/rewetting has been proposed as an indicator of soil microbial activity. Houston Black clay was amended with four rates of arginine to vary microbial response and keep other soil properties constant. The evolution of CO2 during one and three days following rewetting of dried soil was highly related to CO2 evolution during 10 days following fumigation (r**2 equals 0.92 and 0.93, respectively). This study suggests that the release of CO2 following rewetting of dried soil with no amendments other than heat and water can be highly indicative of soil microbial activity and possibly be used as a quantitative measurement of soil biological quality in Houston Black soils.