In the current study, we investigate the relationships among the soil functional diversity, physicochemical properties and heavy metals presence in an ecological farming system. The soil samples were collected from permanent research sites, from A soil horizons, at a depth from 0.05 m to 0.15 m, in June 2018. In fresh soil samples, we evaluated the metabolic profiles of their microbial communities, using Biolog® Eco Plates. The research showed that the soil physical properties got adjusted after a long-term application of an ecological farming system and that the measured values were stabilised, reaching the levels comparable with the average values for the relevant soil type. It is necessary to devote a continual attention to soil reaction, because soil is naturally acidified through acid atmospheric fallout as well as through calcium uptake-off by plants. The values of the selected heavy metals in the monitored period did not exceed the limit values specified in the Act No. 220/2004 Coll. Based on the results of Shannon’s diversity, we can conclude that the diversity in the investigated sites was low, from moderate to medium. The differences (3.26–3.36) among all 11 study localities were very small and not significant. There were determined the correlations between the soil functional diversity, soil physicochemical properties, and heavy metal contents. The average well colour development (AWCD) positively correlated with soil reaction and with Mg content and significantly negatively correlated with contents of Hg, Zn and Cu; equitability significantly positively correlated with soil reaction, Mg, AWCD and Shannon’s diversity. Spearman’s correlation coefficients confirmed the positive correlation between Shannon’s diversity and soil reaction, AWCD and Mg. In our study, no correlation was found between the functional diversity of microorganisms and the soil physical properties.
This paper is focused on the impacts of alkaline and metal deposition on soil and vegetation in the immission field of magnesium factory Jelšava-Lubeník (Slovakia). Soil samples and the foliage of vegetation were obtained from the Jelšava-Lubeník area with specific alkaline pollutants. The examined area is one of the most devastated regions of Slovakia. From the point of view of environmental regionalization, it belongs to an environmentally damaged area of Category 3. The total content of heavy metals in the soil and vegetation (Pb, Zn, Cr, Mn, Mg) were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. Soil reaction was determined in a solution of 0.01 M CaCl2. Vegetation was assessed by the Braun-Blanquet scale. In conclusion, we can say that spray particles of free magnesium oxide (MgO) strongly influence soil reaction, diversity, and vegetation cover. The research showed that the investigated sites were mostly strongly alkaline; the contents of Cr, Mn and Mg were over the toxicity limit, while the measured values of Pb and Zn did not exceed the limits set by the law. The values that measured significantly above the set limit show contamination that can be considered harmful and toxic. In the monitored species, that is, Agrostis stolonifera, Elytrigia repens and Phragmites australis, an over-limit content of Pb and Zn and toxic contents of Mg and Mn were found.