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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 98 No. 3, p. 698-704
     
    Received: June 9, 2005
    Published: May, 2006


    * Corresponding author(s): archsuman@yahoo.com
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doi:10.2134/agronj2005.0173

Microbial Biomass Turnover in Indian Subtropical Soils under Different Sugarcane Intercropping Systems

  1. Archna Suman *,
  2. Menhi Lal,
  3. A. K. Singh and
  4. Asha Gaur
  1. Division of Crop Production, Indian Inst. of Sugarcane Research, Rae-Barely Rd., P.O. Dilkusha, Lucknow-226 002 (UP), India

Abstract

Changes in soil organic C (Corg), total N (Nt), available nutrients, soil microbial biomass C (Cmic) and N (Nmic), and mineralizable C and N in the sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) rhizosphere were evaluated under intensive sugarcane cropping systems with intercrops including wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), maize (Zea mays L.), rajmash (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), green gram [Vigna radiata (L.) R. Wilczek var. radiata], cowpea [Vign aunguiculata (L.) Walp.], lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.), mustard (Brassica rapa L.), potato (Solanum tuberosum L.), and sesbania (Sesbania rostrata Bremek. & Oberm.) in subtropical soils of India. Organic C increased significantly when maize (25%), wheat (24%), mustard (19%), potato (17%), and rajmash (13%) were intercropped with sugarcane, while legume intercrops substantially increased Nt and available N. Increase in microbial respiration was greater where maize (42%), wheat (37%), or mustard (31%) were intercropped compared with pulse crops. Soil microbial biomass C accounted for 2.7 to 3.3% of Corg content and Nmic accounted for 2.6 to 3.7% of Nt under different intercropping conditions. A higher CO2 evolution rate and wider Cmic/Nmic ratios were recorded with cereal and mustard intercrops, whereas higher N mineralization was recorded with pulse intercrops. Results indicate that intercropping with pulse crops and incorporation of their labile C substrate improved N mineralization. The build up of the C pool and Cmic in the case of cereals, mustard, and potato intercropping should promote long-term stability.

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