Changes in soil chemical and microbiological properties during 4 years of application of various organic residues.Waste Manag. 2008; 28(7):1246-53.WM
A 4-year field trial was established in eastern Sweden to evaluate the effects of organic waste on soil chemical and microbiological variables. A simple crop rotation with barley and oats was treated with either compost from household waste, biogas residue from household waste, anaerobically treated sewage sludge, pig manure, cow manure or mineral fertilizer. All fertilizers were amended in rates corresponding to 100kgNha(-1)year(-1). The effects of the different types of organic waste were evaluated by subjecting soil samples, taken each autumn 4 weeks after harvest, to an extensive set of soil chemical (pH, Org-C, Tot-N, Tot-P, Tot-S, P-AL, P-Olsen, K-AL, and some metals) and microbiological (B-resp, SIR, microSIR active and dormant microorganisms, PDA, microPDA, PAO, Alk-P and N-min) analyses. Results show that compost increased pH, and that compost as well as sewage sludge increased plant available phosphorus; however, the chemical analysis showed few clear trends over the 4 years and few clear relations to plant yield or soil quality. Biogas residues increased substrate induced respiration (SIR) and, compared to the untreated control amendment of biogas residues as well as compost, led to a higher proportion of active microorganisms. In addition, biogas residues increased potential ammonia oxidation rate (PAO), nitrogen mineralization capacity (N-min) as well as the specific growth rate constant of denitrifiers (microPDA). Despite rather large concentrations of heavy metals in some of the waste products, no negative effects could be seen on either chemical or microbiological soil properties. Changes in soil microbial properties appeared to occur more rapidly than most chemical properties. This suggests that soil microbial processes can function as more sensitive indicators of short-term changes in soil properties due to amendment of organic wastes.