FLORIAN WICHERN, TORSTEN MÜLLER, RAINER GEORG JOERGENSEN, ANDREAS BUERKERT
University of Kassel, Department of Soil Biology and Plant Nutrition, Germany
University of Kassel, Institute of Crop Science, Germany
Our knowledge of the agricultural sustainability of the millennia old mountain oasis in northern Oman is restricted in particular with respect to C and N turnover. For this reason, a laboratory study was conducted to analyse the effects of rewetting and drying on microbial biomass and activity after adding organic fertilisers, to investigate the effects of a local practice where organic fertilisers are initially mulched and later incorporated into the soil, and to evaluate the relationships between C and N mineralisation rates and quality indices for different age types of manure. During the first 9 d "mulch" period, the content of extractable organic C decreased by approximately 40% in all 4 treatments. During the second 9 d "incorporation" period, this fraction decreased insignificantly in the NIL and old manure treatment and by a further 10% in the young manure and faeces treatment. The NIL and the old manure treatment form the first pair with a low percentage (0.3% in 18d) of organic C evolved as CO and a considerable percentage of total N mineralised as NH and NO (1% in 18d), the young manure and faeces treatment form the second pair with a high amount (0.5% in 18d) of organic C evolved as CO and no net N mineralisation. During the first 9 d period, the microbial biomass C content increased by approximately 150% in all 4 treatments. During the second 9 d period after incorporation of the organic fertilisers, no further increase was observed in the NIL and young manure treatments and a roughly 30% increase in the other two treatments.
Keywords: CO evolution, drying and rewetting, microbial biomass, N"=mineralisation, substrate quality