Submitted to: USDA-ARS Research Notes
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/29/2009
Publication Date: 9/29/2009
Citation: Franzluebbers, A.J., Haney, R.L. 2009. Carbon dioxide as a sign of life in soil. JPC Research Note 20. 2009.
Technical Abstract: Soils dry and are rewetted naturally in the field, the extent of which depends upon climatic and various soil conditions. Release of CO2 following drying and rewetting of soil may be useful in quantifying the portion of microbial biomass that is most responsive to rainfall events, which can have a strong impact on nutrient availability. Fertilizer costs could be reduced if nutrients could be predicted with greater accuracy. The release of CO2 following drying and rewetting expresses potential microbial activity and nutrient mineralization of soils and should be considered as a rapid and reliable indicator of soil biological quality. If a farmer could produce the same yield goal with 20 lbs/acre less N fertilizer (at $0.50/lb) as a result of using this soil biological testing, then s/he could save $10,000 on 1000 acres.