Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

D. Tscherko and E. Kandeler:

Classification and monitoring of soil microbial biomass, N-mineralization and enzyme activities to indicate environmental changes


The potential of the microbial parameters as indicators for soil changes was assessed on five soil monitoring sites, differing in soil type and land use, in the province Salzburg, Austria. The spectrum of analyses comprised microbialbiomass parameter and enzymatic activities of the C, N, P and S-cycle (xylanase, N-mineralization, urease, potential denitrification, alkaline phosphatase, arylsulfatase). While the spatial variability was low, the temporal amplitudes of the microbial biomass and activities during the year were substantial, limiting the potential to detect environmental changes. Overall, a strong influence of the soil type and land use on the microbial performance was detected. The percentiles 30 and 70 of the measured activity data were applied to delimit low, normal and high activity sites.

Key words:  Monitoring, microbial biomass, soil enzymes, soil type, classification.