Effects of different soil management practices on soil properties and microbial diversity

Open access


The effects of different tillage systems on the properties and microbial diversity of an agricultural soil was investigated. In doing so, soil physical, chemical and biological properties were analysed in 2013-2015, on a long-term field experiment on a loamy sand at the IUNG-PIB Experimental Station in Grabów, Poland. Winter wheat was grown under two tillage treatments: conventional tillage using a mouldboard plough and traditional soil tillage equipment, and reduced tillage based on soil crushing-loosening equipment and a rigid-tine cultivator. Chopped wheat straw was used as a mulch on both treatments. Reduced tillage resulted in increased water content throughout the whole soil profile, in comparison with conventional tillage. Under reduced tillage, the content of readily dispersible clay was also reduced, and, therefore, soil stability was increased in the toplayers, compared with conventional tillage. In addition, the beneficial effects of reduced tillage were reflected in higher soil microbial activity as measured with dehydrogenases and hydrolysis of fluorescein diacetate, compared with conventional tillage. Moreover, the polimerase chain reaction – denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis showed that soil under reduced till-age had greater diversity of microbial communities, compared with conventionally-tilled soil. Finally, reduced tillage increased organic matter content, stability in water and microbial diversity in the top layer of the soil.

Alvear M., Rosas A., Rouanet J.L., and Borie F., 2005. Effects of three soil tillage systems on some biological activities in an Ultisol from southern Chile. Soil Till. Res., 82, 195-202.

Casida L., Klein D., and Santoro T., 1964. Soil dehydrogenase activity. Soil Sci., 98, 371-376.

Crecchio C., Gelsomino A., Ambrosoli R., Minati J.L., and Ruggiero P., 2004. Functional and molecular responses of soil microbial communities under differing soil management practices. Soil Biol. Biochem., 36, 1873-1883.

Czyż E.A. and Dexter A.R., 2008. Soil physical properties under winter wheat grown with different tillage systems at selected locations. Int. Agrophysics, 22(3), 191-201.

Czyż E.A. and Dexter A.R., 2009. Soil physical properties as affected by traditional, reduced and no-tillage for winter wheat. Int. Agrophysics, 23, 319-326.

Czyż E.A. and Dexter A.R., 2015. Mechanical dispersion of clay from soil into water: readily dispersed and spontaneously-dispersed clay. Int. Agrophys., 29, 31-37.

Czyż E.A., Dexter A.R., and Terelak H., 2002. Content of readily dispersible clay in the arable layer of some Polish soils. In: Sustainable Land Management – Environmental Protection – A Soil Physical Approach (Eds M. Pagliai, R. Jones). Advances GeoEcology, 35, 115-124.

Dexter A.R., 2002. Soil structure: The key to soil function. In: Sustainable land management-environmental protection (Eds M. Pagliai, R. Jones). Advances in Geoecology, 35, 57-69.

Dexter A.R. and Czyż E.A., 2000. Effect of management on the dispersibility of clay in a sandy soil. Int. Agrophysics, 14, 269-272.

Dexter A.R., Richard G., Arrouays D., Czyż E.A., Jolivet C., and Duval O., 2008. Complexed organic matter controls soil physical properties. Geoderma, 144, 620-627.

Dick R.P., Breakwell D.P., and Turco R.F., 1996. Soil enzyme activities and biodiversity measurements as integrative microbiological indicators. In: Methods for Assessing Soil Quality (Eds J.W. Doran, A.J. Jones). SSSA Press, Madison, WI, USA.

Dilly O., Bloem J., Vos A., and Munch J.C., 2004. Bacterial Diversity in Agricultural Soils during Litter Decomposition. Applied and Environ. Microbiol., 70, 1, 468-474.

Dimassi B., Mary B., Wylleman R., Labreuche J., Couture D., Piraux F., and Cohan J-P., 2014. Long-term effect of contrasted tillage and crop management on soil carbon dynamics during 41 years. Agric. Ecosys. Environ., 188, 134-146.

Doran J.W., Sarrantonio M., and Liebig M., 1996. Soil health and sustainability. In: Advances in Agronomy (Ed. D.L. Sparks). Academic Press, San Diego, 56, 1-54.

Dutta M., Sardar D., Pal R., and Kole R.K., 2010. Effect of chlorpyrifos on microbial biomass and activities in tropical clay loam soil. Environ. Monitoring Assessment, 160, 385-391.

FAO, 1998. World reference base for soil resources. World soil resources reports. FAO/ISRIC/ISSS, Rome.

Franzluebbers A.J., 2002. Soil organic matter stratification ratio as in indicator of soil quality. Soil Till. Res., 66, 95-106.

Fromin N., Hamelin J., Tarnawski S., Roesti D., Jourdain-Miserez K., Forestier N., Teyssier-Cuvelle S., Gillet F., Aragno M., and Rossi P., 2002. Statistical analysis of denaturing gel electrophoresis (DGE) fingerprinting patterns. Environ. Microbiol., 4, 634-643. doi:10.1046/j.1462-2920.2002.00358.x

Gajda A.M., Czyż E.A., and Dexter A.R., 2016. Effects of long-term use of different farming systems on some physical, chemical and microbiological parameters of soil quality. Int. Agrophys., 30, 165-172, doi: 10.1515/intag-2015-0081

Gajda A.M., Czyż E.A., Stanek-Tarkowska J., Dexter A.R., Furtak K.M., and Grządziel J., 2017. Effects of long-term tillage practices on the quality of soil under winter wheat. Plant Soil Environ., 63, 236-242.

Gaţe O.P., Czyż E.A., and Dexter A.R., 2004. Effects of readily-dispersible clay on soil quality and root growth. In: Plant Growth in Relation to Soil Physical Conditions (Eds J. Lipiec, R. Walczak, G. Józefaciuk), IA PAS Press, Lublin, Poland.

Gianfreda L. and Ruggiero P., 2006. Enzyme activities in soil. In: Soil Biology (Eds P. Nannipieri, K. Smalla). Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, Germany.

Green V.S., Stott D.E., and Diack M., 2006. Assay for fluorescein diacetate hydrolytic activity: optimization for soil samples. Soil Biol. Biochem., 38, 693-701.

Gregorich E.G., Carter M.R., Angers D.A., Monreal C.M., and Ellert B.H., 1994. Towards a minimum data set to assess soil organic matter quality in agricultural soils. Can. J. Soil Sci., 74, 367-385.

Hassink J., 1997. The capacity of soils to preserve organic C and N by their association with clay and silt particles. Plant Soil, 191, 77-87.

Howard P.J.A., 1965. The carbon-organic matter factor in various soil types. Oikos, 15(2), 229-236.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO), 2005. Soil quality - determination of pH. ISO 10390, Geneva.

Keller T., Arvidsson J., and Dexter A.R., 2007. Soil structures produced by tillage as affected by soil water content and physical quality of soil. Soil Till. Res., 92, 45-52.

Leite L.F.C., Oliveira F.C., Araújo A.S.F., Galvao S.R.S., Lemos J.O., and Silva E.F.L., 2010. Soil organic carbon and biological indicators in an Acrisol under tillage systems and organic management in Northeastern Brazil. Australian J. Soil Res., 48, 258-265.

Lityński T., Jurkowska H., and Gorlach E., 1976. Agricultural Chemical Analyses, Soils and Fertilizers (in Polish). PWN Press, Warsaw, Poland.

Małecka I., Blecharczyk A., Sawinska Z., and Dobrzeniecki T., 2012. The effect of various long-term tillage systems on soil properties and spring barley yield. Turk. J. Agric. For., 36, 217-226, doi:10.3906/tar-1104-20

Marinari S., Mancinelli R., Campiglia E., and Grego S., 2006. Chemical and biological indicators of soil quality in organic and conventional farming systems in Italy. Ecol. Indicators, 6, 701-711.

Martin-Laurent F., Philippot L., Hallet S., Chaussod R., Germon J.C., Soilas G., and Catroux G., 2001. DNA extraction from soils: Old bias for new microbial diversity analysis methods. Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 67(5), 2354-2359.

Mathew R.P., Feng Y., Githinji L., Ankumah R., and Balkcom K.S., 2012. Impact of no-tillage and conventional tillage systems on soil microbial communities. Applied and Environmental Soil Science, Vol. 2012, Article ID 548620, 10 pages, dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/548620.

McVay K.A., Budde J.A., Fabrizzi K., Mikha M.M., Rice C.W., Schlegel A.J., Peterson D.E., Sweeney D.W., and Thompson C., 2006. Management effects on soil physical properties in long-term tillage studies in Kansas. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 70, 434-438.

Melero R., Lopez-Ganido J., and Murrillo M., 2009. Conservation tillage: short and long term effects on soil carbon fractions and enzymatic activities under Mediterranean conditions. Soil Till. Res., 104, 292-298.

Melero S., Panettieri M., Madejón E., Gómez Macpherson H., Moreno F., and Murillo J.M., 2011. Implementation of chiselling and mouldboard ploughing in soil after 8 years of no-till management in SW, Spain: Effect on soil quality. Soil Till. Res., 112, 107-113.

Moreno B., Garcia-Rodriguez S., Cañizares R., Castro J., and Benítez E., 2009. Rainfed olive farming in south-eastern Spain: Long-term effect of soil management on biological indicators of soil quality. Agr. Ecosys. Environ., 131, 3-4, 333-339.

Muyzer G., deWaal E.C., and Uitierlinden A.G., 1993. Profiling of complex microbial populations by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis of polymerase chain reaction-amplified genes coding for 16S rRNA. Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 59(3), 695-700.

Muyzer G. and Smalla K., 1998. Application of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TGGE) in microbial ecology. Antonie Leeuwenhoek, 73, 127-141.

Nannipieri P., 2014. Soil as a biological system and omics approaches. Environmental quality, 13, 61-66, DOI: 10.6092/issn.2281-4485/4541.

Ostrowska A., Gawliński S., and Szczubiałka Z., 1991. Methods of analysis and estimation of soil and plant properties (in Polish). Prot. Environ. Inst. IOOE Press, Warsaw, Poland.

Peixoto R.S., Coutinho H.L.C., Madari B., Machado P.L.O.A., Rumjanek N.G., Van Elsas J.D., Seldin L., and Rosado A.S., 2006. Soil aggregation and bacterial community structure as affected by tillage and cover cropping in the Brazilian Cerrados. Soil Till. Res., 90, 1-2, 16-28.

Polish Society of Soil Science – PSS, 2008. Particle size distribution and textural classes of soils and mineral materials – classification of Polish Society of Soil Science – PSS (in Polish). In: Soil Science Annual, 2009, 60, 2, 5-16.

Schjønning P., de Jonge L.W., Moldrup P., Christensen B.T., and Olesen J.E., 2012. Searching the critical soil organic carbon threshold for satisfactory tilth conditions – test of the Dexter clay: carbon hypothesis. Vadose Zone J., 11, 174-187.

Schnürer J. and Rosswall T., 1982. Fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis as a measure of total microbial activity in soil and litter. Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 43(6), 1256-1261.

Silva A.P., Babujia L.C., Matsumoto L.S., Guimarães M.F., and Hungria M., 2013. Bacterial diversity under different tillage and crop rotation systems in an Oxisol of Southern Brazil. Open Agriculture J., 7, (Suppl 1-M6), 40-47.

Six J., Conant R.T., Paul E.A., and Paustian K., 2002. Stabilization mechanisms of soil organic matter: Implications for C-saturation of soils. Plant Soil, 241, 155-176.

Sławiński C., Cymerman J., Witkowska-Walczak B., and Lamorski K., 2012. Impact of diverse tillage on soil moisture dynamics. Int. Agrophysics, 26, 301-309, doi: 10.2478/v10247-012-0043-5.

Stott D.E. and Diack M., 2004. Changes in surface soil physical, chemical and biochemical properties under long-term management practices on a temperate mollisol. 13th Int. Soil Conservation Organisation Conf. Conserving Soil and Water for Society: Sharing Solutions, July 4-9, Brisbane, Australia, Paper No. 656, 1-4.

Stutter M.I. and Richards S., 2012. Relationships between soil physicochemical, microbiological properties, and nutrient release in buffer soils compared to field soils. J. Environ. Qual., 41, 2, 400-409, doi: 10.2134/jeq2010.0456.

Urbanek E. and Horn R., 2006. Changes in soil organic matter, bulk density and tensile strength of aggregates after percolation in soils after conservation and conventional tillage. Int. Agrophysics, 20, 245-254.

Watts C.W. and Dexter A.R., 1997. The influence of organic matter in reducing the destabilization of soil by simulated tillage. Soil Till. Res., 42, 253-275.

Watts C.W., Dexter A.R., Dumitru, E., and Canarache A., 1996. Structural stability of two Romanian soils as influenced by management practices. Land Degradation and Development, 7, 217-238.

Weisburg W.G., Barns S.M., Pelletier D.A., and Lane D.J., 1991. 16S Ribosomal DNA amplification for phylogenetic study. J. Bacteriol., 173(2), 697-703.

Wolińska A., Górniak D., Zielenkiewicz U., Goryluk-Salmonowicz A., Kuźniar A., Stępniewska Z., and Błaszczyk M., 2017. Microbial biodiversity in arable soils is affected by agricultural practices. Int. Agrophysics, 31, 259-271, doi: 10.1515/intag-2016-0040

Wolińska A. and Stępniewska Z., 2012. Dehydrogenase activity in the soil environment. In: Dehydrogenases (Ed. R. Canuto). INTech Publisher, Rijeka, Croatia.

Wolińska A., Stępniewska Z., and Szymańska Z., 2013. Dehydrogenase activity of soil microorganisms and the total DNA level in soil of different use. J. Agric. Sci. Technol., B(3), 613-622.

Wolińska A., Stępniewska Z., Wołoszyn A., and Rzewuska M., 2012. Interrelations between DNA concentration and physicochemical parameters in the loess soil profile. Acta Agrophysica, 19(2), 437-448.

Xiao Ch., Limin Y., Lianxue Z., Cuijing L., and Mei H., 2016. Effects of cultivation ages and modes on microbial diversity in the rhizosphere soil of Panax ginseng. J. Ginseng Res., 40, 28-37.

International Agrophysics

The Journal of Institute of Agrophysics of Polish Academy of Sciences

Journal Information

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 1.242
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.267

CiteScore 2018: 1.44

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.399
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.891

Cited By


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 511 381 34
PDF Downloads 264 209 19