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Soil sustainability indicators following conservation tillage practices under subtropical maize and bean crops

AutorRoldán Garrigos, Antonio ; Salinas-García, J. R.; Alguacil García, María del Mar ; Caravaca Ballester, María Fuensanta
Palabras claveAggregate stability
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
C sequestration
Dehydrogenase activity
Glomalin related soil protein
Microbial biomass
No tillage
Fecha de publicaciónabr-2007
CitaciónSoil Tillage Research 93(2):273-282 (2007)
ResumenConservation management systems such as no tillage may enhance sequestration of soil C. The soil properties that contribute to soil C storage under such systems are still largely unknown, especially in subtropical agroecosystems. We investigated the influence of tillage [mouldboard plough (MP) and no tillage (NT)] on soil organic C, microbial biomass and activity, structural stability and mycorrhizal status of a field cultivated with maize (Zea mays L.) or bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) on a Vertisol in Northern Tamaulipas, Mexico. Crop type, tillage system and soil depth had a significant effect on soil organic C, aggregate stability and bulk density. Soil organic C, microbial biomass C and N and dehydrogenase and phosphatase activities were greater with NT than with MP, particularly under bean cultivation. In the 0–5 cm layer, microbial biomass C and N were, on average, about 87 and 51% greater in the soils cultivated with bean and maize, respectively, under NT than under MP. Higher levels of mycorrhizal propagules, glomalin related soil protein (GRSP) and stable aggregates were produced under NT than under MP in both crops. The no-tillage system can be considered an effective management practice for carrying out sustainable agriculture under subtropical conditions, due to its improvement of soil physical and biochemical quality and soil C sequestration.
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