Limitations of soil microbial biomass carbon as an indicator of soil pollution in the field

Broos, Kris, Macdonald, Lynne M., Warne, Michael St. J., Heemsbergen, Diane A., Barnes, Mary B., Bell, Mike and McLaughlin, Mike J. (2007) Limitations of soil microbial biomass carbon as an indicator of soil pollution in the field. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 39 10: 2693-2695. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2007.05.014


Author Broos, Kris
Macdonald, Lynne M.
Warne, Michael St. J.
Heemsbergen, Diane A.
Barnes, Mary B.
Bell, Mike
McLaughlin, Mike J.
Title Limitations of soil microbial biomass carbon as an indicator of soil pollution in the field
Journal name Soil Biology and Biochemistry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0038-0717
1879-3428
Publication date 2007-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.soilbio.2007.05.014
Volume 39
Issue 10
Start page 2693
End page 2695
Total pages 3
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Language eng
Abstract The size of the soil microbial biomass carbon (SMBC) has been proposed as a sensitive indicator for measuring the adverse effects of contaminants on the soil microbial community. In this study of Australian agricultural systems, we demonstrated that field variability of SMBC measured using the fumigation–extraction procedure limited its use as a robust ecotoxicological endpoint. The SMBC varied up to 4-fold across control samples collected from a single field site, due to small-scale spatial heterogeneity in the soil physicochemical environment. Power analysis revealed that large numbers of replicates (3–93) were required to identify 20% or 50% decreases in the size of the SMBC of contaminated soil samples relative to their uncontaminated control samples at the 0.05% level of statistical significance. We question the value of the routine measurement of SMBC as an ecotoxicological endpoint at the field scale, and suggest more robust and predictive microbiological indicators.
Keyword Soil microbial biomass carbon
Field variability
Ecotoxicological endpoint
Metal toxicity
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
 
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Created: Mon, 07 Mar 2011, 14:33:20 EST