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Effects of fertilizer type and rate on labile soil fractions of a sandy Cambisol - long-term and short-term dynamics.


J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci. 174, 121-127 (2011).


The application of density fractionation is an established technique, but studies on short-term dyna-mics of labile soil fractions are scarce. Objectives were (1) to quantify the long-term and short-term dynamics of soil C and N in light fraction (LFOC, LFON, q ≤ 2.0 g cm-3) and microbial biomass C (Cmic) in a sandy Cambisol as affected by 28 y of different fertilization and (2) to determine the incorporation of C4-C into these labile fractions during one growing season of amaranth. The treat-ments were: straw incorporation plus application of mineral fertilizer (MSI) and application of farmyard manure (FYM) each at high (MSIH, FYMH, 140-150 kg N ha-1 y-1) and low (MSIL, FYML, 50-60 kg N ha-1 y-1) rates at four field replicates. For all three sampling dates in 2008 (March, May, and Sep-tember), stocks of LFOC, LFON and Cmic decreased in the order FYMH > FYML > MSIH, MSIL. However, statistical significance varied markedly among the sampling dates, e.g., with LFOC being significantly different (p ≤ 0.05) in the order given above (sampling date in March), significantly diffe-rent depending on the fertilizer type (May), or nonsignificant (September). The high proportion of LFOC on the stocks of soil organic C (45% to 55%) indicated the low capacity of soil-organic-matter stabilization on mineral surfaces in the sandy Cambisol. The incorporation of C4-C into the LFOC during one growing season of amaranth was small in all four treatments with C4-LFOC ranging from 2.1% to 3.0% of total LFOC in March 2009, and apparent turnover times of C3-derived LFOC ranged from 21 to 32 y for the sandy soils studied. Overall, our study indicates that stocks of LFOC and LFON in a sandy arable soil are temporarily too variable to obtain robustly significant treatment effects of fertilizer type and rate at common agricultural practices within a season, despite the use of bulked six individual cores per plot, a common number of field replicates of four, and a length of treatments (28 y) in the order of the turnover time (21-32 y) of C3-derived LFOC.