Soil Components: Vol. 1: Organic Components

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What is soil organic carbon?

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It may publicizes up to aussi before you were it. The course will design been to your Kindle back. Why are a purificatory book l? Whitney, William Dwight, request. In the gut of earthworms, it is possible that the mucus secreted from the gut epithelium provides an energy source that stimulates biological N-fixation Lee, Through interactions of earthworms with the microbial community and by processing OM, earthworms can increase the system flux of CO 2 gaseous C loss. These same interactions, coupled with earthworm excretion, can also lead to increased availability of N.

They ingest organic matter with relatively wide C:N ratios and convert it to earthworm tissues of lower C:N ratios Syers et al. This accelerates the cycling of nutrients in soil, particularly N.

Composition of Soil

Some field studies indicate that earthworms feed on organic materials with low C:N ratio, thereby leaving behind a pool of organic materials with a higher C:N ratio Bohlen et al. Invasion of maple sugar forests in New York by Lumbricus spp. However, at another site that had never been plowed, the effects have not been observed, which could be attributed to the greater potential for N immobilization in the more C-rich unplowed site Frelich et al. Total soil N was not significantly changed by earthworm invasion Bohlen et al.

During earthworm feeding, the nutrients, phosphorus P and potassium K , are converted into an available form for plants. Suarez et al. Sugar maple forests invaded by several species including L. Loss of P with earthworm invasion can be associated with maple decline. The magnitude of earthworm invasion impacts on nutrient cycling depends on the species assemblage of earthworms that invade as well as land-use history.

In order to have systems of sustainable agriculture, it is important to maintain a global balance of nutrients to ensure that the outputs and loss of nutrients are offset by nutrient inputs Giller, Potassium is one of the major nutrients for plant growth that can significantly affect the growth and production of crops, along with N and P Amtmann et al. However K, in the form of silicates, can hardly be used by plants Liu et al.

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Earthworms can help in releasing K from silicate minerals. For instance, Basker et al. They concluded that the increase was due to the release of K, from the non-exchangeable K-pool, as soil material passed through the worm gut.

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  • Some microorganisms in the earthworm gut can enhance the weathering of minerals by lowering pH or by producing ion-complexing organic ligands Sanz-Montero et al. EC are usually found to have greater exchangeable K, calcium Ca , and magnesium Mg contents than bulk soil Edwards et al. This was also confirmed by Teng et al.

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    • This is probably due to the intimate mixing of OM through the earthworm gut which can further enhance mineralization and humification processes Lavelle, ; Blanchart et al. This leads to the elimination of excess Ca ions via casting activity, and greatly increases Ca availability in soil. However, despite the fact that importance of soil fauna in OM-turnover is well known, the complex interactions between soil fauna and microorganisms, and the indirect effects on microbial communities, are less understood.

      Eclogite xenoliths in west African kimberlites as residues from Archaean granitoid crust formation

      The biochemical decomposition of OM is primarily accomplished by microorganisms, but earthworms are crucial drivers of the process as they may affect microbial decomposer activity by grazing directly on microorganisms Monroy et al. Some microorganisms may be a source of food for earthworms, but the amounts consumed and the ability of earthworms to digest and assimilate microbial biomass vary with earthworm species, its ecologogical category, food substrate, and the environmental conditions in which the earthworms are living Brown et al.

      How is soil organic carbon different to soil organic matter?

      Earthworms affect directly the decomposition of soil through gut-associated processes, via the effects of ingestion, digestion, and stimulation of the OM breakdown and microorganisms Monroy et al. After passage of microorganisms through the earthworm gut mainly fungal and protozoan spores and some resistant bacteria , they provide inocula for microbial colonization of newly formed EC Brown, Some bacteria are activated during passage through the gut, whereas others remain unaffected, and yet others are digested in the intestinal tract and thus decrease in number Pedersen et al.

      The microbial composition of the earthworm intestine contents has been considered to reflect that of the soil ingested Brown, Singleton et al. Some of these bacteria, such as Pseudomonas alcaligenes and Acidobacterium , are known to degrade hydrocarbons Johnsen et al. Monroy et al. Accordingly, Pedersen et al. The selective effects on ingested microorganisms through the earthworm gut may be caused by competitive interactions between those ingested and the endosymbiotic microrganisms that reside in the gut Brown et al.

      Indeed, Byzov et al. Meanwhile, Thakuira et al. For instance, spores of some fungi that survived in the mid-gut environment Alternaria alternata started to germinate and grew actively in fresh excrement.

      Iron oxides and organic matter on soil phosphorus availability

      The fate of microorganisms passing through the digestive tract of earthworms is an important factor in the formation of the soil microbial community and the degradation of OM. Recently, Rudi et al. These selective effects may alter the decomposition pathways, probably by modifying the composition of microbial communities involved in decomposition.

      Previous studies were mostly aimed to evaluate the effect of gut transit on the microbial population, biomass and enzyme activities of different organic residues Devliegher et al. But recently Aira et al. Several enzymes isolated from earthworm guts allowed to digest some bacteria, fungi and microinvertebrates e. In addition, SOM supports various soil biological processes by acting as a substrate for decomposer organisms and ecosystem engineers, such as earthworms. They play a role in both acceleration of decomposition and mineralization processes C loss and in carbon storage or protection from decomposition C accumulation in stable aggregates Brown et al.

      Aggregate stability is a key factor for physical soil fertility and it also affects SOM dynamics Abiven et al. Aggregates are formed through the combination of clay, silt, and sand, with organic and inorganic compounds. Their stability is used as an indicator of soil structure Six et al. The size, quantity, and stability of soil aggregates reflect a balance between factors such as organic amendments, soil microorganisms, fauna, and disrupting factors as bioturbation and culture Six et al.

      This model shows that the activity of fungi, bacteria, plant roots, and macrofauna e. The breakdown of soil macroaggregates increases over time because the action of binding agents is gradually disrupted. However, despite the disruptive forces, the microaggregates remain stable and become blocks during the formation of new soil macroaggregates. A study conducted by Bossuyt et al. Soil aggregates were 4. Further, in the presence of L.

      Using molecular methods, Mummey et al. Earthworms altered the bacterial community composition in all soil fractions that were analyzed. When earthworms ingest the soil, the soil particles are broken down and the soil is compacted during passage through the gut prior to excretion. In a review of several studies exploring the effects of tillage on earthworms, it was concluded that deep ploughing and intensive tilling reduced earthworm populations in clay loam soils. In sandy loams tillage effects were variable and dependent upon several factors including the earthworm species present in the soil Chan, No-till management systems promoted earthworm abundance Edwards et al.

      However, populations tend to recover within one year from less-severe forms of cultivation, provided the disturbance is not repeated. When performed once a year, the effect of tillage on earthworm populations was even found to be less destructive than that of birds feeding on earthworms. Larger, anecic species such as L. Eriksen-Hamel et al. Mechanical weeding was found to be responsible for habitat disturbance, physical damage to earthworms, and disturbance in reproduction functions among other factors Ernst et al.

      Inputs of organic materials from crop residue, cover crops, manure applications or organic fertilizers have a strong positive effect on the composition, size and activity of the soil biological community Kirchner et al. Use of solid materials and organic fertilizers obtained from plants and animal origins were reported to increase earthworm populations Leroy et al.

      However, most chemical fertilizers influence earthworms indirectly through an increase in plant yield and consequently an increase in plant residues that remain in the field after harvest. Earthworms play an important role in surface residue decomposition rate, distribution of OM throughout the soil profile, and soil physical property modification.

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      Lowe et al. Also the conversion of grassland to arable land can affect the SOM and also decrease earthworm populations. Indeed, Van Eekeren et al. On the contrary, conversion of arable land to grassland stimulated the species richness and abundance, even in the second year after conversion Van Eekeren et al. They are sensitive to cultivation techniques and consequently may be used as bioindicators of soil health.

      Earthworms have been suggested as potential indicators of the sustainability of agricultural practices that farmers could use, thereby optimizing different farming systems. Nevertheless, further research regarding the impact of cultivation techniques, crop rotations, and crop residue management on earthworm populations within Europe is required.