Welcome to International Network for Natural Sciences | INNSpub

Paper Details

Research Paper | August 1, 2015

| Download 1

Effect of switchgrass plantation on soil moisture and nitrogen availability and microbial biomass carbon in a semi-arid ecosystem

R.L. Molatudi, Y. Steinberger, F.Y. Meng, G.H. Xie

Key Words:

Int. J. Agron. Agri. Res.7(2), 130-141, August 2015


IJAAR 2015 [Generate Certificate]


The crop canopy was reported to have a strong influence on soil moisture and nutrient availability. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) plantations on soil moisture and the levels of mineral nitrogen and microbial biomass carbon. Soil samples were collected from six soil layers to a depth of 90 cm under switchgrass stands established in 2006 (SG2006), 2008 (SG2008), and 2009 (SG2009), and under native grasses as a control, during 2012 and 2013. Soil moisture was significantly higher (P < 0.05) under native grasses than under all switchgrass stands. Soil ammonium nitrogen (NH4+-N) levels were significantly higher under all switchgrass stands than under native grasses. The nitrate nitrogen (NO3 -N) concentration was significantly lower in soil under native grasses than under all switchgrass stands and averaged 2.74 mg kg-1 for the two seasons. Among all the treatments, the 2009 switchgrass plantation soil had a significantly lower (P < 0.05) microbial biomass carbon (MBC) (160 mg kg-1 and 121 mg kg-1 in 2012 and 2013, respectively) during both growing seasons. Ammonium-nitrogen, NO3 -N and MBC were significantly higher in the upper soil layers than in deeper layers in all treatments studied. Soil moisture was significantly higher in the deeper layers than in the upper layers, regardless of treatment. These findings confirm that switchgrass plantations exhibit beneficial impacts on soil fertility in semi-arid regions, through alleviation of NO3-N leaching and enhancement of soil microbial carbon.


Copyright © 2015
By Authors and International Network for
Natural Sciences (INNSPUB)
This article is published under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution Liscense 4.0

Effect of switchgrass plantation on soil moisture and nitrogen availability and microbial biomass carbon in a semi-arid ecosystem

Atkinson C. 1985. Nitrogen acquisition in four coexisting species from an upland acidic grassland. Plant Physiology 63, 375–387.

Bonde TA, Roswall T. 1987. Seasonal variation of potentially mineralizable nitrogen in four cropping systems. Soil Science Society of American Journal 51, 1508–1541.

Cao C, Jiang SY, Ying Z, Zhang FX, Han XS. 2011. Spatial variability of soil nutrients and microbiological properties after the establishment of leguminous shrub Caragana microphylla Lam. plantation on sand dune in the Horqin sandy land of Northeast China. Ecological Engineering 37, 1467– 1475.

Devi NB, Yadava PS. 2006. Seasonal dynamics in soil microbial biomass C, N and P in a mixed-oak forest ecosystem of Manipur, North-east India. Applied Soil Ecology 31, 220–227.

Diaz-Ravina M, Acea MJ, Carballas T. 1995: Seasonal changes in microbial biomass and nutrient flush in forest soils. Biology and Fertility of Soils 19, 220–226.

Dou FG, Hons F M, Ocumpaugh W R, Read J C, Hussey MA, Muir JP. 2013. Soil organic carbon pools under switchgrass grown as a bioenergy crop compared to other conventional crops. Pedosphere 23(4), 409–416.

El Titi A. 2003. Implication of soil tillage for weed communities. In El Titi A (Ed.): Soil tillage in Agroecosystems. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA. 147–186 p.

Fan XR, Xie D, Chen JG, Lu HY, XU YL, Ma C, XU GH. 2014. Over-expression of OsPTR6 in rice increased plant growth at different nitrogen supplies but decreased nitrogen use efficiency at high ammonium supply. Plant Science 227, 1–11.

Fierer N, Schimel JP. 2002. Effects of drying-rewetting frequency on soil carbon and nitrogen transformations. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 34, 777–787.

Franzluebbers AJ, Haney RL, Hons FM. 1999. Relationships of chloroform fumigation–incubation to soil organic matter pools. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 31, 395–405.

Garcia C, Hernandez T, Costa F, Ceccanti B. 1994. Biochemical parameters in soils regenerated by the addition of organic wastes. Waste Management Research 12, 457–466.

Gee GW, Bauder JW. 1986. Particle-size analysis. In: A. Klute, editor, Methods of soil analysis. Part 1. 2nd ed. Agron. Monogr. 9. ASA and SSSA, Madison, WI.p. 383–411.

Griffiths RI, Whiteley AS, O’Donnell AG, Bailey MJ. 2003. Physiological and community responses of established grassland bacterial populations to water stress. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 69, 6961–6968.

Insam H. 2001. Development in soil microbiology since the mid. Goderma 100, 389–402.

Jenkinson DS, Powlson DS. 1976. The effects of biocidal treatments on metabolism in soil. V. A method for measuring soil biomass. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 8, 209–213.

Keeney DR, Nelson DW. 1982. Nitrogen – inorganic forms. In A.L. Page (eds.) Methods of soil analysis, part 2. Agronomy Monograph 9, 2nd ed. ASA and SSSA, Madison, WI. 643-698 p.

Lee DK, Doolittle JJ, Owens VN. 2007. Soil carbon dioxide fluxes in established switchgrass land managed for biomass production. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 39, 178–186.

Lewandowski I, Kauter D. 2003. The influence of nitrogen fertilizer on the yield and combustion quality of whole-grain crops for solid fuel use. Industrial Crops and Products 17(2), 103–117.

Lovell, RD, Jarvis SC, Bardgett RD. 1995. Soil microbial biomass and activity in long-term grassland: effects of management changes. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 27, 969–975.

McLaughlin SB, de la Torre Ugarte DG, Garten Jr CT, Lynd LR, Sanderso MA, Tolbert VR, Wolf DD. 2002. High-value renewable energy from prairie grasses. Environmental Science and Technology 36, 2122–2129.

McLaughlin SB, Kszos AL. 2005. Development of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) as a bioenergy feedstock in the United States. Biomass Bioenergy 28, 515–535.

Moore JM, Klose S, Tabatabai MA. 2000. Soil microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen as affected by cropping system. Biology and Fertility of Soils 31, 200–210.

Norman RJ, Edberg JC, Stucki JW. 1985. Determination of nitrate in soil extracts by dual-wavelength ultraviolet spectrophotometry. Soil Science Society of America Journal 49, 1182–1185.

Pandey CB, Begum M. 2010. The effect of a perennial cover crop on net soil N mineralization and microbial biomass carbon in coconut plantations in the humid tropics. Soil Use and Management 26, 158–166.

Pandey CB, Srivastava RC, Singh RK. 2009. Soil nitrogen mineralization and microbial biomass relation, and nitrogen conservation in humid-tropics. Soil Science Society of American Journal 73, 1142– 1149.

Parker SS, Schimel JP. 2011. Soil nitrogen availability and transformations differ between the summer and the growing season in California grassland. Applied Soil Ecology 48, 185-192.

Parrish D, Fike J. 2005. The biology and agronomy of switchgrass for biofuels. Critical Reviews in Plant Science 24, 423–459.

Roberts G, Penwell A, Peurou F, Sharpe A. 2010. The effect of soil moisture content on nitrogen transformation using OECD test guideline 216. Applied Soil Ecology 46, 478–482.

Ross DJ. 1987. Soil microbial biomass estimated by the fumigation-incubation procedure: seasonal fluctuation and influence of soil moisture content. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 19, 397–404.

Schade JD, Hobbie SE. 2005. Spatial and temporal variation in islands of fertility in the Sonoran Desert. Biogeochemistry 73, 541–553.

Schmer MR, Liebig MA, Vogel KP, Mitchell RB. 2011. Field-scale soil property changes under switchgrass managed for bioenergy. Global Change Biology and Bioenergy 3, 439–448.

Su YZ, Zhang TH, Li YL, Wang F. 2005. Changes in soil properties after establishment of Artemisia halodendron and Caragana microphylla on shifting sand dunes in semiarid Horqin Sandy Land, Northern China. Environmental Management 36, 272–281.

Tu C, Ristaino JB, Hu S. 2006. Soil microbial biomass and activity in organic tomato farming systems: Effects of organic inputs and straw mulching. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 38, 247– 255.

Vance ED, Brookes PC, Jenkinson DS. 1987. An extraction method for measuring soil microbial biomass C. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 19, 703– 707.

Vogel KP. 1996. Energy production form forages (or American agriculture—back to the future). Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 51, 137–139.

Wright L, Turhollow A. 2010. Switchgrass selection as a “model” bioenergy crop: A history of the process. Biomass Bioenergy 34, 851–868.

Xiong SJ, Zhang QG, Zhang DY, Olsson R. 2008. Influence of harvest time on fuel characteristics of five potential energy crops in northern China. Bioresource Technology 99, 479-485.

Yadav R. 2012. Soil organic carbon and soil microbial biomass as affected by restoration measures after 26 years of restoration in mined areas of Doon Valley. International Journal of Environmental Sciences 2(3), 1380–1385.

Yang L, Wei W, Chen L, Jia F, Mo B. 2012. Spatial variation of shallow and deep moisture in semi-arid Loess Plateau, China. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 16, 3199–3217.

Zhou Y, Pei Z, Su J, Zhang J, Zheng Y, Ni J, Xiao C, Wang R. 2012. Comparing soil organic carbon dynamics in perennial grasses and shrubs in a saline-alkaline arid region, Northwestern China. PLoS ONE 7(8), e42927.


Style Switcher

Select Layout
Chose Color
Chose Pattren
Chose Background