Sandeep Sharma Jatinder Kaur H. S. Thind Yadvinder Singh Neha Sharma Kirandip Kirandip


Assessment of soil quality is an invaluable tool in determining the sustainability and environmental impact of agricultural ecosystems. Soil microbial indices like microbial biomass and microbial activity are important criteria for the determination of soil quality. Laboratory incubation study was undertaken to examine the influence of eight crop residues widely varying in biochemical composition on the periodic changes in important soil microbial indices {(microbial (Cmic: Corg), metabolic (qCO2), carbon mineralization (qC) and microbial biomass change rate (qM) quotients)} at 28 days and 63 days after incubation (DAI) in a sandy loam soil. A. sativa amended soil showed maximum soil respiration rate (14.23 mg CO2-C g-1 soil day-1) whereas T. aestivum amended soil showed maximum microbial biomass C (790 µg/g). The metabolic quotient among different crop residues ranged from 11.1 to 19.8 μg CO2-C μg-biomass-C-1 h-1 at 63 DAI. The results indicate that incorporation of different crop residues has positive effect on microbial flora and their activity. Microbial quotient (Cmic:Corg) was significantly positively correlated with microbial biomass carbon (MBC), qC and qM. The study suggests that the biochemical composition of different crop residues seems to be of better option for long term sustainable crop production with maintenance of soil quality in a sandy loam soil.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...




Crop residues, Microbial biomass, Microbial indices, Soil quality

Abiven, S., Recous, S., Reyes, V. and Oliver, R. (2005). Mineralisation of C and N from root, stem and leaf residues in soil and role of their biochemical quality. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 42: 119-129.
Alef, K. (1995). Basal respiration. In: Method in Applied Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry. (Eds K Alef, P Nannipieri). Academic Press: Harcourt Brace and Company. Londo) pp. 228-231.
Alexander, M. (1977). Introduction to Soil Microbiology. Second edition. USA, Canada, John Willey & Sons: 467.
Alvarez, C.R. and Alvarez, R. (2000). Short term effects of tillage systems on active soil microbial biomass. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 31: 157-161.
Alvarez, R., Santanotoglia, O.J. and Garcia, R. (1995). Effect of temperature on soil microbial biomass and its metabolic quotient in site under different tillage systems. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 19: 227–230.
Anderson, J.P.E (1982) Soil respiration. In A.L. Page et at. (ed.) Methods of soil analysis, Part 2. Chemical and Microbiological Properties (2nd eds). Amercian Society of Agronomy. Madison, Wisconsin USA pp. 831-871.
Anderson, T.H. and Domsch, K.H. (1985). Determination of ecophysiological maintenance carbon requirements of soil microorganisms in a dormant state. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 1: 81–89.
Anderson, T.H. and Domsch, K.H. (1989). Ratios of microbial biomass carbon to total organic-C in arable soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 21: 471–479.
Anderson, T.H. and Domsch, K.H. (1990). Application of eco-physiological quotients (qCO2 and qD) on microbial biomasses from soils of different cropping histories. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 22: 251-255.
Atlas, R.M. and Bartha, R. (1998). Microbial Ecology: Fundamentals and applications 4th Edition. Benjamin cummings publishing company Inc. Addison Wesley Longman Inc. pp. 300-350.
Badia, D. and Marti, C. (2003). Effect of simulated fire on organic matter and selected micro biological properties of two contrasting soils. Arid Land Research and Management, 17: 55 – 70.
Bini, D., Santos, C., Carmo, B., Kishino, N., Andrade,G., Waldemar, Z. and Nogueira, M. A. (2013). Effects of land use on soil organic carbon and microbial processes associated with soil health in southern Brazil. European Journal of Soil Biology 55: 117-123.
Bouajila, K. and Sanaa, M. (2011). Effects of organic amendments on soil physico-chemical and biological properties Journal of Material and Environmental Science, 2: 485-490
Brookes, P.C. (1995). The use of microbial parameters in monitoring soil pollution by heavy metals. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 19: 269-279.
Campbell, C.A. Moulin, A.P. Bowren, K.E. Janzen, H.H. Townly-Smith, L. and Biederbeck, V.O. (1992). Effect of crop rotation on microbial biomass, specific respiratory activity and mineralizable nitrogen in a Black Chernozemic soil. Canadian Journal of Soil Sci-ence, 72: 417–427.
Constantinides, M. and Fownes, J.H. (1994). Nitrogen mineralization from leaves and litter of tropical plants: relationships to nitrogen, lignin and soluble polyphenol concentrations. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 26: 49-55.
De Nobili, M., Cercignani, G., Leita, L. (1984). Evaluation of type and contents of humic substances in sludges and composts. In: Williams JH, Guidi G, L’Hermite P (eds) Long-term effects of sewage sludge and farm slurry applications. Elsevier, London, pp 204–209.
De Nobili, M., Contin, M., Mondini, C. and Brookes, P.C. (2001). Soil microbial biomass is triggered into activity by trace amounts of substrate. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 33: 1163–1170.
Dilly, O. and Munch, J.C. (1998). Ratios between estimates of microbial biomass content and microbial activity in soils. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 27: 374–379.
Frankenberger, W.T. and Abdelmagid, H.M. (1985). Kinetic parameters of nitrogen mineralisation rate of leguminous crops incorporated into soil. Plant and Soil, 87: 257 -271.
Haripal, K. and Sahoo, S.(2014). Microbial biomass Carbon, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus dynamics along a chronose-quence of abandoned tropical agroecosystems. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences, 3: 956-970
Heal, O.W., Anderson, J.M. and Swift, M.J. (1997). Plant litter quality and decomposition: an historical overview. In: Cadisch G & Giller KE (Eds) Driven by Nature - Plant Litter Quality and Decomposition, CAB International, Wallingford pp 3–30.
Henderson, S.L., Dandie, C.E., Patten, C.L., Zebarth, B.J., Burton, D.L., Trevors, J.T. and Goyer, C. (2010). Changes in denitrifier abundance, denitrification gene mRNA levels, nitrous oxide emissions, and denitrification in anoxic soil microcosms amended with glucose and plant residues. Applied Environmental Microbiology, 76: 2155–2164.
Insam, H. and Domsch, K.H. (1988). Relationship between soil organic carbon and microbial biomass on chronosequences of reclamation sites. Microbial Ecology, 15: 177-188.
Insam, H. and Haselwandter, K. (1989). Metabolic quotient of the soil microflora in relation to plant succession. Oecologia, 79: 174-178.
Iritani, W.M. and Arnold, C.Y. (1960). Nitrogen release of vegetable crop residues during incubation as related to their chemical composition. Soil Science, 9: 74-82.
Jensen, L.S, Salo, T., Palmason, F., Breland, T.A., Henriksen, T.M., Stenberg, B., Pedersen, A., Lundström, C. and Esala, M. (2005). Influence of biochemical quality on C and N mineralisation from a broad variety of plant materials in soil. Plant and Soil, 273: 307-326.
Lavelle, P. and Spain, A.V. (2002). Soil Ecology. Kluwer Academic Publisher, The Netherlands.
Lehtinen, T., Schlatter, N., Baumgarten, A., Bechini, L., Krüger, J., Grignani, C., Zavattaro, L., Costamagna, C. and Spiegel, H. (2014). Effect of crop residue incorporation on soil organic carbon and greenhouse gas emissions in European agricultural soils. Soil Use and Management, 30: 524–538.
Llorente, M. and Turrión, M. (2010). Microbiological parameters as indicators of soil organic carbon dynamics in relation to different land use management. European Journal of Forest Research, 129: 73-81.
Lundquist, E.J, Jackson, L.E., Scow, K.M. and Hsu, C. (1999). Changes in microbial biomass and community composition, and soil carbon and nitrogen pools after incorporation of rye into three California agricultural soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 31: 221–236.
Mary, B., Recous, S., Darwis, D. and Robin, D. (1996). Inter-actions between decomposition of plant residues and nitrogen cycling in soil. Plant and Soil, 181: 71–82.
Mengel, K. (1996). Turnover in soil and its availability of crops. Plant and Soil, 181: 83-93.
Moscatelli, M.C., Lagomarsino, A., Marinari, S., De Angelis, P., Grego, S. (2005). Soil microbial indices as bioindicators of environmental changes in a poplar plantation. Ecological Indicator, 5: 171–179.
Neely, C.L., Beare, M.H., Hargrove, W.L. and Coleman, D.C. (1991). Relationships between fungal and bacterial substrate-induced respiration, biomass, and plant resi-due decomposition. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 23: 947-954.
Olsen, S.R., Cole, C.V., Watanabe, F.S. and Dean, I.A. (1954) Estimation of available phosphorus in soils by extraction with sodium bicarbonate, U.S. Department of Agriculture Cirle. 939: 1-19.
Orchard, V.A and Cook F.J. (1983). Relationship between soil respiration and soil moisture. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 15: 447–453.
Pandiaraj, T., Selvaraj, S. and Ramu, N. (2015). Effects of Crop Residue Management and Nitrogen Fertilizer on Soil Nitrogen and Carbon Content and Productivity of Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in Two Cropping Systems. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology, 17: 249-260.
Pinzari, F., Trinchera, A., Benedetti, A. and Sequi, P. (1999). Use of biochemical indices in the Mediterranean environment: comparison among soils under different forest vegetation. Journal of Microbiololgy and Methods, 36: 21–28.
Powlson, D.S., Brookes, P.C. and Jenkinson, D.S. (1987). Measurement of soil microbial biomass provides an early indication of changes in total soil organic matter due to straw incorporation. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 19: 159–164.
Rice, C.W., Moorman B.T. and Beare M. (1996) Role of Microbial Biomass Carbon and Nitrogen in Soil Quality. V: Methods for Assessing Soil Quality. Doran W.J.in Jones A.L. (ur.) Madison, Wisconsion USA, Soil Science Society of America pp 144-173.
Sall, S.N., Masse D., Bernhard-Reversat F., Guisse A. and Chotte J.L. (2003). Microbial activities during the early stage of laboratory decomposition of tropical leaf litters: The effect of interactions between litter quality and exogenous inorganic nitrogen. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 39: 103–111.
Sánchez-Monedero, M.A., Mondini, C., Cayuela, M.L., Roig, A., Contin, M. and De Nobili, M. (2008). Fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis, respiration and microbial biomass in freshly amended soils. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 44:885–890.
Santruckova, H. and Straskraba, M. (1991). On the relationship between specific respiration activity and microbial biomass in soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 23: 525-532.
Saviozzi, Y.A., Bufalino, P.. Levi-Minzi, R. and Riffald, R. (2002). Biochemical activities in a degraded soil restored by two amendments: a laboratory study. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 35 96-101.
Smith, J.L and Paul, E.A. (1990). The significance of soil biomass estimations. Soil Biochemistry 6 eds (Bolag JM and Stotzky G) Marcel Dekker, New York pp 357-396.
Smith, K.A., Dobbie, K.E., Ball, B.C., Bakken, L.R., Sitaula, B.K, Hansen, S.R., Brumme, R., Borken, W., Christensen, S., Priemé, A., Fowler, D., Macdonald, J.A., Skiba, U., Klemedtsson, L., Kasimir-Klemedtsson, A., Degórska, A. and Orlanski, P. (2000), Oxidation of atmospheric methane in Northern European soils, comparison with other ecosystems, and uncertainties in the global terrestrial sink. Global Change Biology, 6: 791–803.
Sparling, G.P. and Ross, D.J. (1993). Biochemical methods to estimate soil microbial biomass: current developments and applications. In: Mulongy K, Merckx R (eds) Soil organic matter dynamics and sustainability of tropical agriculture. Wiley-Sayce Co-Publication, IITA/K.U, Leuven, The Netherlands, pp 21–37.
Subbiah, B.V. and Asija, G.L. (1956). A rapid procedure for estimation of available nitrogen in soils. Current Science, 25: 259–260.
Thippayarugs, S., Toomsan, B., Vityakon, P., Limpinuntana, V., Pananothai, A. and Cadish, G. (2008). Interactions in decomposition and mineralization between tropical legume residue components. Agroforestry Systems, 72: 137-148.
Van Antwerpen, R., Haynes, R., Meyer, J.H. and Hlanze, D. (2003). Assessing organic amendments used by sugarcane growers for improving soil chemical and biological properties. Proceeding of South Afercian Sugur Technologists Association, 77: 293-299.
Vance, E.D., Brookes, P.C. and Jenkinson, D.S. (1987). An extraction method for measuring soil microbial biomass C. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 19: 703–707.
Walkley, A. and Black, I.A. (1934). An examination of the degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Science, 37: 29-38.
Wardle, D.A. (1992). A comparative assessment of factors which influence microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen levels in soils. Biological Reviews, 67: 321– 358.
Wardle, D.A. and Ghani, A. (1995). A critique of the microbial metabolic quotient (qCO2) as a bioindicator of disturbance and ecosystem development. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 27: 1601–1610.
Citation Format
How to Cite
Sharma, S., Kaur, J., Thind, H. S., Singh, Y., Sharma, N., & Kirandip, K. (2015). A framework for refining soil microbial indices as bioindicators during decomposition of various organic residues in a sandy loam soil. Journal of Applied and Natural Science, 7(2), 700-708. https://doi.org/10.31018/jans.v7i2.669
More Citation Formats:
Research Articles