We determined the organic carbon released by roots of maize plants (Zea mays L.) when grown in soils amended with compost and its soluble fractions. In rhizobox systems, soil and roots are separated from the soil of a lower compartment by a nylon membrane. Treatments are applied to the upper compart- ment, while in the lower compartment luminescent biosensors measure the bioavailable organic carbon released by roots (rhizodeposition). The rhizobox–plants systems were amended with a compost (COM), its water extract (TEA), the hydrophobic (HoDOM) and hydrophilic (HiDOM) fractions of the dissolved organic matter (DOM) extracted from the compost. After root development, the lower untreated com- partments were sampled and sliced into thin layers. The bioavailable organic carbon in each layer was assessed with the lux-marked biosensor Pseudomonas fluorescens 10586 pUCD607, and compared with total organic carbon (TOC) analyses. The TOC values ranged between 8.4 and 9.6 g kg¡1 and did not show any significant differences between bulk and rhizosphere soil samples in any treatment. Conversely, the biosensor detected significant differences in available C compounds for rhizosphere soils amended with various organic materials. Concentrations of available organic compounds in the first 2mm of soil rhi- zosphere were 1.69 (control), 1.09 (COM), 2.87 (HiDOM), 4.73 (HoDOM) and 2.14 (TEA)lmolCg¡1 soil g¡1 roots. The applied rhizobox–biosensor integrated method was successful in detecting and quanti- fying effects of organic amendments on organic carbon released by maize plant roots. This approach may become important in assessing the carbon cycle in agricultural soils and soil–atmosphere compart- ments.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|