Soil microbial C:N ratio is a robust indicator of soil productivity for paddy fields
AuthorLi, Y; Wu, J; Shen, J; Liu, S; Wang, C; Chen, D; Huang, T; Zhang, J
Source TitleScientific Reports
University of Melbourne Author/sLi, Yong
AffiliationAgriculture and Food Systems
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsLi, Y., Wu, J., Shen, J., Liu, S., Wang, C., Chen, D., Huang, T. & Zhang, J. (2016). Soil microbial C:N ratio is a robust indicator of soil productivity for paddy fields. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6 (1), https://doi.org/10.1038/srep35266.
Access StatusOpen Access
Maintaining good soil productivity in rice paddies is important for global food security. Numerous methods have been developed to evaluate paddy soil productivity (PSP), most based on soil physiochemical properties and relatively few on biological indices. Here, we used a long-term dataset from experiments on paddy fields at eight county sites and a short-term dataset from a single field experiment in southern China, and aimed at quantifying relationships between PSP and the ratios of carbon (C) to nutrients (N and P) in soil microbial biomass (SMB). In the long-term dataset, SMB variables generally showed stronger correlations with the relative PSP (rPSP) compared to soil chemical properties. Both correlation and variation partitioning analyses suggested that SMB N, P and C:N ratio were good predictors of rPSP. In the short-term dataset, we found a significant, negative correlation of annual rice yield with SMB C:N (r = -0.99), confirming SMB C:N as a robust indicator for PSP. In treatments of the short-term experiment, soil amendment with biochar lowered SMB C:N and improved PSP, while incorporation of rice straw increased SMB C:N and reduced PSP. We conclude that SMB C:N ratio does not only indicate PSP but also helps to identify management practices that improve PSP.
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