Biowaste compost amendment modifies soil biogeochemical cycles and microbial community according to aggregate classes

Salvatore Baiano*, Arturo Fabiani, Flavio Fornasier, Andrea Ferrarini, Michele Innangi, Stefano Mocali, Luigi Morra

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


The use of biowaste compost as soil organic amendment is of great interest for soil recovery. However, there is little knowledge of detailed effects on chemical, microbial, and biochemical properties in different soil compartments (aggregate classes) following long-term amendment with biowaste compost. We studied the distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), soil microbial biomass (SMB), microbial community composition and activity in bulk soils and in three water stable aggregate classes (>250, 250–53, and <53 μm), after seven years of different fertilization treatments: biowaste compost (Com), mineral NPK fertilizers (Min), biowaste compost with half-dose N fertilizer (ComN), and no fertilizers as control (Cnt). Microbial biomass was assessed through a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) based method and enzyme activities were determined using a microplate-based fluorometric assay. Denaturing gradient electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting analysis was used to study the composition of both fungal and bacterial communities. Com and ComN treatments improved significantly SOC, TN and SMB in bulk soils and in all aggregate sizes. Composition of fungal and bacterial communities shifted with biowaste compost, more in soil aggregates than in bulk soils. To this change of microbial community composition in soil aggregates, corresponded a response of enzymes activities to fertilization treatments depending on aggregate size. Com treatment caused the highest enzyme activity in microaggregates (250–53 μm), whereas ComN and Min showed, in general, a higher activity in silt plus clay sized aggregates (<53 μm). The enzymes involved in biogeochemical cycle of P, with the exception of the phytase, displayed the lowest activity in macroaggregates (>250 μm), suggesting that the intensity of this cycle is lower in this soil niche; however, they increased with C accumulation due to both biowaste compost treatments. Furthermore, fungal diversity and richness decreased with fertilization treatments in all fraction except in macroaggregates. Thus, soil aggregates regulated the feedback of chemical, biochemical and microbial properties in response to soil fertilization strategies.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)104132-N/A
RivistaApplied Soil Ecology
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Biowaste compost
  • Microbial community
  • Soil aggregates
  • Soil enzymes
  • Soil organic matter


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