Biodiv Sci ›› 2004, Vol. 12 ›› Issue (4): 456-465.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2004056

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Effect of soil management practices and environmental factors on soil microbial diversity: a review

ZHONG Wen-Hui1,2*, CAI Zu-Cong1   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008
    2 College of Chemistry and Enivionmental Sciences,Nanjing Normal University,Nanjing 210097
  • Received:2003-12-02 Revised:2004-04-30 Online:2004-07-20 Published:2004-07-20
  • Contact: ZHONG Wen-Hui

Abstract: In this paper, the effect of soil management practices and environmental factors on soil microbial diversity are reviewed and the methods for studying soil microbial diversity are briefly introduced. Soil microbial diversity includes microbial species diversity, genetic diversity and ecological diversity. Culturing techniques using a variety of culture media are used traditionally to analyze soil microbial communities, but only a small fraction of soil microbial community has been cultured and isolated. Recently several modern methods including Biolog analysis, phospholipid fatty acid analysis and nucleic acid-based analysis have been utilized internationally to study and characterize soil microbial diversity. Soil microbial diversity is affected by many factors including management practices. Application of pesticides usually causes declines in soil microbial diversity or changes in its structure and function. Organic manures are commonly reported to maintain soil microbial diversity and activities, but reports on the effects of inorganic fertilizers have been contradictory. Generally speaking, microbial diversity is higher and biomass is larger in agricultural soils cultivated with reduced tillage and crop rotation than in those soils cultivated with conservation tillage and monoculture. Soil microbial diversity may also be influenced by soil organic matter, vegetation, seasonal change, and usually suffer from stresses such as drought, overgrazing, and nutrient deficiencies.

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