Effects of the returning organic wastes on soil enzymes and microbial quantity in dryland farming
More details
Hide details
College of Resource and Environmental Science, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun, 130118, China
Jilin Province Soil Fertilizer Station, Jilin Province Soil Fertilizer Station, Changchun, 130033, China., China
Jilin Provincial Laboratory of Grassland Farming, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun, China
Final revision date: 2021-09-16
Acceptance date: 2021-09-17
Publication date: 2021-11-15
Corresponding author
Jinggui Wu   

College of Resource and Environmental Science, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun, 130118, China
Int. Agrophys. 2021, 35(3): 279–287
  • AM-S is an important strategy for sustainable agricultural production
  • AM-S improved the enzymatic and microbial activities in this study
  • SP was the most effective treatment for improving soil biological activity
  • SP is highly recommended
The application of animal manure combined with straw is an important strategy for sustainable agricultural production. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of animal manure combined with straw on soil enzymes and microbial quantity. The two-year experiment involved four treatments: maize straw only, maize straw plus ox manure, maize straw plus chicken manure, and maize straw plus pig manure. In 2018 and 2019, treatments with animal manure combined with straw led to increased levels of soil microbial quantity, soil enzyme activity, and yields. Compared to other treatments, higher catalase activities were achieved in both years for the maize straw plus ox manure and maize straw plus pig manure treatments whereas the cellulase activities were higher for the maize straw plus ox manure and maize straw plus chicken manure treatments. The maize straw plus ox manure treatment had the highest number of soil bacteria, and the quantity of actinomycetes was higher after the applications of maize straw plus ox manure and maize straw plus chicken manure as compared to the other treatments. Moreover, compared to the application of maize straw only, treatment maize straw plus pig manure had the most significant effect on the soil urease activity, invertase activity, fungal quantity, and maize yield with 43.9, 35.9, 52.0, and 31.7% increases, respectively. In conclusion, our findings suggested that animal manure combined with straw, especially the application of maize straw plus pig manure was the most effective treatment for enhancing soil enzymes and microbial quantity and also promoting maize yield.
This research was supported by the Research Foundation of the Science & Technology Agency of Jilin Province, China (20190301018NY; 2019-2021), and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFD0300203; 2018-2020, 2017YFD0201801; 2017-2020).
The authors declare no conflict of interest
Albiach R., Canet R., Pomares F., and Ingelmo F., 2000. Microbial biomass content and enzymatic activities after the application of organic amendments to a horticultural soil. Bioresour. Technol., 75, 43-48,
Antonious G.F., Turley E.T., and Dawood M.H., 2020. Monitoring soil enzymes activity before and after animal manure application. Agric., 10(5), 166,
Benavente I., Gascó G., Plaza C., Paz-Ferreiro J., and Méndez A., 2018. Choice of pyrolysis parameters for urban wastes affects soil enzymes and plant germination in a Mediterranean soil. Sci. Total Environ., 634(SEP.1), 1308-1314,
Blumfield T.J. and Xu Z.H., 2003. Impact of harvest residues on soil mineral nitrogen dynamics following clear fall harvesting of a hoop pine plantation in subtropical Australia. For. Ecol. Manag., 179, 55-67,
Bocar A., Huang Q.Y., Chen W.L., Wen S.L., Zhang J.Y., Mohamed I., Cai P., and Liang W., 2009. Microcalorimetric assessment of microbial activity in long-term fertilization experimental soils of Southern China. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol., 2, 30-39.
Bowles T.M., Acosta-Martínez V., Calderón F., and Jackson L.E., 2014. Soil enzyme activities, microbial communities, and carbon and nitrogen availability in organic agroecosystems across an intensively-managed agricultural landscape. Soil Biol. Biochem., 68, 252-262,
Breuil C. and Saddler J., 1985. Comparison of the 3,5-dinitrosalicylic acid and Nelson-Somogyi methods of assaying for reducing sugars and determining cellulase activity. Enzyme Microb. Technol., 7, 327-332,
Brzezińska M., Włodarczyk T., Stępniewski W., and Przywara G., 2005. Soil aeration status and catalase activity. Acta Agroph., 5, 555-565.
Cao J., Wang C., Ji D., 2016. Improvement of the soil nitrogen content and maize growth by earthworms and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in soils polluted by oxytetracycline. Sci. Total Environ., 571 (Nov. 15), 926-934,
Cima D., Luik A., and Reintam E., 2015. Organic farming and cover crops as an alternative to mineral fertilizers to improve soil physical properties. Int. Agrophys., 29, 405-412,
Cusack D.F., Silver W.L., Torn M.S., Burton S.D., and Firestone M.K., 2011. Changes in microbial community characteristics and soil organic matter with nitrogen additions in two tropical forests. Ecology, 92, 621-632,
Dominik A., Franz Z., and Simone J., 2018. Activated biochar alters activities of carbon and nitrogen acquiring soil enzymes. Pedobiologia, 69, 1-10,
Evgenia B. and Yakov K., 2013. Active microorganisms in soil: Critical review of estimation criteria and approaches. Soil Biol. Biochem., 67, 192-211,
Gajda A.M., Przewłoka B., and Gawryjołek K., 2013. Changes in soil quality associated with tillage system applied. Int. Agrophys., 2013, 27, 133-141,
Gander L.K., Hendricks C.W., and Doyle J.D., 1994. Interferences, limitations and an improvement in the extraction and assessment of cellulase activity in soil. Soil Biol. Biochem., 26(1), 65-73,
Gao S., Gao J., Cao W., Zou C., Huang J., Bai J., and Dou F., 2018. Effects of long-term green manure application on the content and structure of dissolved organic matter in red paddy soil. J. Integr. Agr., 17(8), 1852-1860,
Ghollarata M. and Raiesi F., 2007. The adverse effects of soil salinization on the growth of Trifolium alexandrinum L. and associated microbial and biochemical properties in a soil from Iran. Soil Biol. Biochem., 39(7), 1699-1702,
Han W. and He M., 2010. The application of exogenous cellulase to improve soil fertility and plant growth due to acceleration of straw decomposition. Bioresour. Technol., 101, 3724-3731,
Hou X.Q., Li R., Jia Z.K., Han Q.F., Yang B.P., and Nie J.F., 2012. Effects of rotational tillage practices on soil structure, organic carbon concentration, and crop yields in semi-arid areas of northwest China. Soil Use Manag., 28, 551-558.
Huang X., Xue D., and Xue L., 2014. Changes in microbial biomass, activity, functional diversity, and enzyme activity in tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) garden soils. Hortence, 49(11), 1408-1413,
Hu N., Wang B., Gu Z., Tao B., Zhang Z., Hu S., Zhu L., and Meng Y., 2016. Effects of different straw returning modes on greenhouse gas emissions and crop yields in a rice-wheat rotation system. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ., 223, 115-122,
Jian S., Li J., Chen J., Wang G., Mayes M.A., Dzantor K.E., Hui D., and Luo Y., 2016. Soil extracellular enzyme activities, soil carbon and nitrogen storage under nitrogen fertilization: A meta-analysis. Soil Biol. Biochem., 101, 32-43,
Jiao X.G., Gao C.S., Lü G.H., and Sui Y.Y., 2011. Effect of long-term fertilization on soil enzyme activities under different hydrothermal conditions in Northeast China. Agr. Sci. China, 10, 412-422,
Ji L.Q., 2015. An assessment of agricultural residue resources for liquid biofuel production in China. Renew. Sust. Energ. Rev., 44, 561-575,
Karami A., Homaee M., Afzalinia S., Ruhipour H., and Basirat S., 2012. Organic resource management: impacts on soil aggregate stability and other soil physicochemical properties. Agr. Ecosyst. Environ., 148, 22-28,
Kumar S., Paritosh K., Pareek N., Chawade A., and Vivekanand V., 2018. De-construction of major Indian cereal crop residues through chemical pretreatment for improved biogas production: An overview. Renew. Sust. Energ. Rev., 90, 160-170,
Lafond G.P., Stumborg M., Lemke R., May W.E., Holzapfel C.B., and Campbell C.A., 2009. Quantifying straw removal through baling and measuring the long-term impact on soil quality and wheat production. Agronomy J., 101, 529-537,
Li T., Zhang Y., Bei S., Li X., Reinsch S., Zhang H., and Zhang J., 2020. Contrasting impacts of manure and inorganic fertilizer applications for nine years on soil organic carbon and its labile fractions in bulk soil and soil aggregates. Catena, 194, 104739,
Maltas A., Kebli H., Oberholzer H.R., Weisskopf P., and Sinaj S., 2018. The effects of organic and mineral fertilizers on carbon sequestration, soil properties, and crop yields from a long-term field experiment under a Swiss conventional farming system. Land Degrad. Dev., 29, 926-938,
Mandal N., Dwivedi B.S., Meena M.C., Singh D., Datta S.P., Tomar R.K., and Sharma B.M., 2013. Effect of induced defoliation in pigeonpea, farmyard manure and sulphitation pressmud on soil organic carbon fractions, mineral nitrogen and crop yields in a pigeonpea−wheat cropping system. Field Crops Res., 154(6), 178-187,
Maxwell T.L., Augusto L., Bon L., Adèle Courbineau., and Fanin N., 2020. Effect of a tree mixture and water availability on soil nutrients and extracellular enzyme activities along the soil profile in an experimental forest. Soil Biol. Biochem., 107864,
Mierzwa-Hersztek M., Gondek K., Klimkowicz-Pawlas A., Chmiel M.J., Dziedzic K., and Taras H., 2019. Assessment of soil quality after biochar application based on enzymatic activity and microbial composition. Int. Agrophys., 33(3), 331-336,
Parthasarathi K.L. and Ranganathan S., 2000. Aging effect on enzyme activities in pressmud vermicasts of Lampito mauritii (Kinberg) and Eudrilus eugeniae (Kinberg). Biol. Fertil. Soils, 30(4), 347-350,
Plaza C., Hernández D., García-Gil J.C., and Polo A., 2004. Microbial activity in pig slurry-amended soils under semiarid conditions. Soil Biol. Biochem., 36(10), 1577-1585,
Samuel A.D., Domuta C., and Sandor M., 2008. Influence of long-term tillage, crop rotation and fertilisation combinations on soil enzyme activities. Int. J. Antimicrob. Agents, 12(1), 67-70.
Sharma S., Singh P., and Kumar S., 2020. Responses of soil carbon pools, enzymatic activity and crop yields to nitrogen and straw incorporation in a rice-wheat cropping system in north-western India. Front. Sustain. Food Syst., 4, 532704,
Shi S.H., Tian L., Nasir F., Bahadur A., Batool A., Luo S.S., Yang F., Wang Z.C., and Tian C.J., 2019. Response of microbial communities and enzyme activities to amendments in saline-alkaline soils. Appl. Soil Ecol., 135, 16-24,
Singh K., Trivedi P., Singh G., Singh B., and Patra D.D., 2016. Effect of different leaf litters on carbon, nitrogen and microbial activities of sodic soils. Land Degrad. Dev., 1215-1226,
Tripathy R. and Singh A.K., 2004. Effect of water and nitrogen management on aggregate size and carbon enrichment of soil in rice-wheat cropping system. J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sc., 167, 216-228,
Wang J., Zhang L., Pang H., and Zhang J., 2017. Returning granulated straw for accelerating decomposition rate and improving soil fertility. Transactions of the CSAE, 33(6), 177-183.
Wang Y., Gong J., Li J., Xin Y., Hao Z., Chen C., Li H., Wang B., Ding M., Li W., Zhang Z., Xu P., Xu T., Ding G., and Li J., 2020. Insights into bacterial diversity in compost: Core microbiome and prevalence of potential pathogenic bacteria. Sci. Total. Environ., 718, 137304,
Wei S.H., Wang S.S., Zhou Q.X., Zhan J., Ma L.H., Wu Z.J., Sun T.H., and Prasad M.N.V., 2010. Potential of Taraxacum mongolicum Hand-Mazz for accelerating phytoextraction of cadmium in combination with eco-friendly amendments. J. Hazard. Mater., 181(1-3), 480-484,
Wei T., Zhang P., Wang K., Ding R., Yang B., Nie J., Jia Z., and Han Q., 2015. Effects of wheat straw incorporation on the availability of soil nutrients and enzyme activities in semiarid areas. PLoS ONE, 10, e0120994,
Wu H.H., Xu X.K., Duan C.T., Li T.S., and Cheng W.G., 2017. Effect of carbon and nitrogen addition on nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide fluxes from thawing forest soils. Int. Agrophys., 31, 339-349,
Yan Q., Xu Y., Yu Y., Zhu Z., and Feng G., 2018. Effects of Pharmaceuticals on microbial communities and activity of soil enzymes in mesocosm-scale constructed wetlands. Chemosphere, 212 (Dec.), 245-253,
Yu H.Y., Ding W.X., Luo J.F., Donnison A., and Zhang J.B., 2012. Long-term effect of compost and inorganic fertilizer on activities of carbon-cycle enzymes in aggregates of an intensively cultivated sandy loam. Soil Use Manag., 28(3), 347-360,
Zhang C., Liu G., Xue S., and Song Z., 2011. Rhizosphere soil microbial activity under different vegetation types on the Loess plateau, China. Geoderma, 161, 115-125,
Zhang H., Zeng Q., An S., Dong Y., and Darboux F., 2016. Soil carbon fractions and enzyme activities under different vegetation types on the Loess Plateau of China. Solid Earth Discuss., 1-27,
Zhang L., Chen X., Xu Y., Jin M., Ye X., Gao H., Chu W., Mao J., and Thompson M.L., 2020. Soil labile organic carbon fractions and soil enzyme activities after 10 years of continuous fertilization and wheat residue incorporation. Sci. Rep., 10(1), 1-10,
Zhang P., Chen X.L., Wei T., Yang Z., Jia Z.K., Yang B.P., Han Q.F., and Ren X.L., 2016. Effects of straw incorporation on the soil nutrient contents, enzyme activities, and crop yield in a semiarid region of China. Soil Tillage Res., 160, 65-72,
Zhang W.M., Yu C.X., Wang X.J., and Hai L., 2020. Increased abundance of nitrogen transforming bacteria by higher C/N ratio reduces the total losses of N and C in chicken manure and corn stover mix composting. Bioresour. Technol., 297, 122410,
Zhang X., Dong W., Dai X., Schaeffer S., Yang F., Radosevich M., Xu L., Liu X., and Sun X., 2015. Responses of absolute and specific soil enzyme activities to long term additions of organic and mineral fertilizer. Sci. Total Environ., 536, 59-67,
Zhao S., Li K., Zhou W., Qiu S., Huang S., and He P., 2016. Changes in soil microbial community, enzyme activities and organic matter fractions under long-term straw return in north-central China. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ., 216, 82-88,
Zhou D.Q., 1993. Microbiological tutorial. Beijing: Higher Education Press, 281-282.
Zhu H., Wu J., Huang D., Zhu Q., Liu S., Su Y., Wei W., Syers J.K., and Li Y., 2010. Improving fertility and productivity of a highly-weathered upland soil in subtropical China by incorporating rice straw. Plant Soil, 331, 427-437,
Zimmerman A., 2010. Abiotic and microbial oxidation of laboratory-produced black carbon (biochar). Environ. Sci. Technol., 44(4), 1295-1301,