The combined effects of urea application and simulated acid rain on soil acidification and microbial community structure Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Our aim was to test the effects of simulated acid rain (SAR) at different pHs, when applied to fertilized and unfertilized soils, on the leaching of soil cations (K, Ca, Mg, Na) and Al. Their effects on soil pH, exchangeable H(+) and Al(3+) and microbial community structure were also determined. A Paleudalfs soil was incubated for 30 days, with and without an initial application of urea (200 mg N kg(-1)soil) as nitrogen (N) fertilizer. The soil was held in columns and leached with SAR at three pH levels. Six treatments were tested: SAR of pH 2.5, 4.0 and 5.6 leaching on unfertilized soil (T1, T2 and T3), and on soils fertilized with urea (T4, T5 and T6). Increasing acid inputs proportionally increased cation leaching in both unfertilized and fertilized soils. Urea application increased the initial Ca and Mg leaching, but had no effect on the total concentrations of Ca, Mg and K leached. There was no significant difference for the amount of Na leached between the different treatments. The SAR pH and urea application had significant effects on soil pH, exchangeable H(+) and Al(3+). Urea application, SAR treated with various pH, and the interactions between them all had significant impacts on total phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs). The highest concentration of total PLFAs occurred in fertilized soils with SAR pH5.6 and the lowest in soils leached with the lowest SAR pH. Soils pretreated with urea then leached with SARs of pH 4.0 and 5.6 had larger total PLFA concentrations than soil without urea. Bacterial, fungal, actinomycete, Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterial PLFAs had generally similar trends to total PLFAs.

authors

  • Liu, Xingmei
  • Zhou, Jian
  • Li, Wanlu
  • Xu, Jianming
  • Brookes, Philip C

publication date

  • May 2014