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Research article2013Peer reviewed

Bacterial community structure and microbial activity in different soils amended with biogas residues and cattle slurry

Abubaker, Jamal; Cederlund, Harald; Arthurson, Veronica; Pell, Mikael


Anaerobic digestion of organic materials generates residues of differing chemical composition compared to undigested animal manures, which may affect the soil microbial ecosystem differently when used as fertilizers. This study investigated the effects of two biogas residues (BR-A and BR-B) and cattle slurry (CS) applied at rates corresponding to 70 kg NH4+-N ha(-1) on bacterial community structure and microbial activity in three soils of different texture (a sandy, a clay and an organic clay soil). 16S rRNA genes were targeted in PCR reactions and bacterial community profiles visualized using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism. General microbial activity was measured as basal respiration (B-resp), substrate-induced respiration (SIR), specific growth rate (mu(SIR)), metabolic quotient (qCO(2)) and nitrogen mineralization capacity (NMC). Non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis visualized shifts in bacterial community structure related to microbial functions. There were significant differences in bacterial community structure after 120 days of incubation (+20 degrees C at 70% of WHC) between non-amended (control) and amended soils, especially in the sandy soil, where CS caused a more pronounced shift than biogas residues. Terminal-restriction fragment (TRF) 307, the predominant peak in CS-amended sandy soil, was identified as possibly Bacillus or Streptococcus. TRF 226, the dominant peak in organic soil amended with BR-B, was classified as Rhodopseudomonas. B-resp significantly increased and SIR decreased in all amendments to organic soil compared with the control, potentially indicating decreased efficiency of heterotrophic microorganisms to convert organic carbon into microbial biomass. This was also reflected in an elevated qCO(2) in the organic soil. The mu(SIR) level was higher in the sandy soil amended with BR-A than with BR-B or CS, indicating a shift toward species capable of rapidly utilizing glucose. NMC was significantly elevated in the clay and organic soils amended with BR-A and BR-B and in the sandy soil amended with BR-B and CS. Thus, biogas residues and cattle slurry had different effects on the bacterial community structure and microbial activity in the three soils. However, the effects of biogas residues on microbial activities were comparable in magnitude to those of cattle slurry and the bacterial community structure was less affected. Therefore, we do not see any reason not to recommend using biogas residues as fertilizers based on the results presented. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Bacterial community structure; Basal respiration; Biogas residue; Cattle slurry; Nitrogen mineralization capacity; Substrate-induced respiration

Published in

Applied Soil Ecology
2013, Volume: 72, pages: 171-180