Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 28, 2002
Publication Date: June 28, 2002
Citation: ACOSTA MARTINEZ, V., ZOBECK, T.M., GILL, T.E., KENNEDY, A.C. Microbial Community Structure and Enzyme Activities in Semiarid Agricultural Soils. 2002. Agronomy Abstracts, S03-acostamartinez090029-poster.pdf. . AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION. Technical Abstract: The effect of agricultural management practices on the microbial community structure and enzyme activities of semiarid soils of different textures in the Southern High Plains of Texas were investigated. The soils (sandy clay loam, fine sandy loam and loam) were under continuous cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) or in rotations with peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) or wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and had different water management (irrigated or dryland) and tillage (conservation or conventional). Microbial community structure was investigated using fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) analysis by gas chromatography and enzyme activities, involved in C, N, P and S cycling of soils, were measured (mg product released per kg soil per h). The activities of b-glucosidase, b-glucosaminidase, alkaline phosphatase, and arylsulfatase were significantly (P < 0.05) increased in soils under cotton rotated with sorghum or wheat, and due to conservation tillage in comparison to continuous cotton under conventional tillage. Principal component analysis showed FAME profiles of these soils separated distinctly along PC1 (20%) and PC2 (13%) due to their differences in soil texture and management. No significant differences were detected in FAME profiles due to management practices for the same soils in this sampling period. Enzyme activities provide early indications of the benefits in microbial populations and activities and soil organic matter under crop rotations and conservation tillage in comparison to the typical practices in semiarid regions of continuous cotton and conventional tillage.