Changes in Microbial Community as Affected by Soil Compaction and Organic Matter Amendment

Lily Ishak, Philip H. Brown


Soil compaction may threaten agricultural sustainability through its impact on altering soil microbial structure and function. This occurs as a result of the limitation of air permeability and oxygen availability, which has implications for soil nutrition and soil-borne disease. The present study aimed to assess compaction effect on changes of soil microbial communities over time and whether these changes were influenced by organic matter (OM) amendment. An experiment consisted of two levels of compaction (1.1 and 1.4 g cm-3) and two levels of OM (0 and 10 g kg-1). Soil microbial community attributes investigated were soil respiration, microbial biomass, activity and diversity. Data on microbial attributes were obtained from three-sampling times (10; 20; 80 days). The results showed that microbial respiration, biomass, activity and diversity changes over time and were higher in compacted soil than uncompacted soil in day-10, but then higher in uncompacted soil at day-20. An increase in microbial biomass, activity and diversity in uncompacted soil within 20 days were presumably associated with the availability of soil organic carbon (SOC), void space and aeration. However, microbial biomass, activity and diversity across the treatments declined in day-80, where bacteria and fungi performed a different pattern. Bacterial community was lower in compacted soil at day-80 and this might be an indicator of the effect of compaction and of the reduction in SOC availability. Meanwhile, fungal community was found to be higher in compacted soil over 80 days confirming the ability of fungal communities to survive under such an environment.


organic matter amendment; soil compaction; soil microbial community; temporal changes.

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