Soil microbial biomass and enzyme activity in six Brazilian oxisols under cropland and native vegetation






ABSTRACT Oxisols are important soils that have been converted from native vegetation to croplands, and can affect soil biological properties such as microbial biomass and enzyme activity. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the changes on soil microbial biomass and enzyme activity when native vegetation (NV) was converted to cropland (CL), such as maize or sugarcane in six oxisols from São Paulo state, Brazil. Soil microbial biomass C (MBC) and N (MBN), and the activity of arylsulphatase, dehydrogenase and fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis (FDA) were assessed in samples collected at 0-0.20 m. In general, MBC was higher under NV than CL (about + 40%), while MBN and FDA did not show a consistent pattern between NV and CL. All soils showed higher values of arylsulfatase (increased from 101 to 717%) and dehydrogenase (increased 15 to 220%) under NV than CL. In conclusion, soil microbial biomass C is usually higher under native vegetation than cropland. Arylsulphatase and dehydrogenase were the attributes that presented better differentiation between native and cropped soils.

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