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GeoloGy, ecoloGy, and landscapes, 2018 Vol . 2, no . 1, 15–21 https://doi.org/10.1080/24749508.2018.1438743 INWASCON OPEN ACCESS Change in soil microbial biomass along a rural-urban gradient in Varanasi (U.P., India) Pradeep Kumar Rai, Anuradha Rai and Surendra Singh c entre of a dvanced s tudy in Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 26 July 2017 Soil microbial biomass has been used as an early indicator of change in soil properties resulting a ccepted 29 o ctober 2017 from urbanization. We analyzed the effect of urbanization along a rural–urban gradient on soil microbial biomass and physico-chemical properties of the soil. The mean microbial biomass KEYWORDS −1 carbon (MBC) value were 107.4, 121.3, and 134.2 μg g of soil, respectively, for urban, sub-urban Urbanization; microbial and rural sections of the gradient. Whereas, the mean microbial biomass nitrogen (MBN) was biomass; anoV a; bulk −1 10.2, 11.5, and 12.5 μg g of soil for urban, sub-urban, and rural gradient. Similarly, the mean density −1 values of microbial biomass phosphorus (MBP) were 5.1, 5.8, and 6.3 μg g of soil, for urban, sub-urban, and rural gradient, respectively. ANOVA and Tukey’s Honest Significant Difference (HSD) analyses showed significant difference (P ≤ 0.05) in microbial biomass with physico- chemical characteristics of soils. Maximal soil microbial biomass was reported for rural soils followed by sub-urban and urban soil. Disturbance in soil texture, increased in BD and decrease in soil moisture content as major factors responsible for depletion in soil microbial biomass in urban soils. Thus, suggesting that the urbanization adversely effected soil microbial biomass by altering natural soil characteristics. Introduction establishment of housing colonies are fertile agricul- tural lands. Urban soils get altered by anthropogenic Soil microbial biomass is a labile pool of organic mat- activities such as compaction, construction, mixing, ter acting both as source and sink of plant nutrients land filling, and degradation. Topsoil usually get filled (Singh, Raghubanshi, Singh, & Srivastava, 1989). It is up with stones, construction rubble, bricks, and other considered as one of the main determinants of soil fer- building materials, contributing to poor soil ferility (Jin, tility (Jenkinson & Ladd, 1981). Change in microbial Ye, Xu, Shen, & Huang, 2011). Soil compaction due to biomass adversely aeff cts the cycling of soil organic urbanization ae ff cts the soil carbon cycle which in turn matter, ecosystem stability and fertility (Smith & Paul, can alter the soil biological activity (Deurer et al., 2012; 1990). Studies on soil microbial biomass carbon (MBC), Nawaz, Bourrie, & Trolard, 2012). Beside soil carbon, nitrogen (MBN), and phosphorus (MBP) in different compaction also ae ff cts the amount and distribution of natural and disturbed ecosystems showed them to be an MBC (Beylich, Oberholzer, Schrader, Hoper, & Wilke, important labile pool of carbon (C) and mineral nutri- 2010). A study carried out at a military training site in ents (Smith & Paul, 1990; Wardle, 1992). Consequent Fort Benning, Georgia showed that MBC decreased as upon decomposition nutrients are released into the envi- the level of disturbance resulting from training activ- ronment ae ff cting soil nutrient content, hence, primary ities increased (Silveira, Comerford, Reddy, Prenger, productivity of the ecosystems (Franzluebber, Hons, & & DeBusk, 2010). Nevertheless, a little is known about Zuberor, 1994; Gregorich, Liang, Drury, Mackenzie, & the impact urbanization could have on soil microbial McGill, 2000; Haney, Franzluebbers, Hons, Hossner, biomass. & Zuberer, 2001). Therefore, any disturbance in the er Th efore, microbial biomass could be used as a val- microbial population in response to the variation in uable tool for understanding and predicting the long- soil properties such as moisture, bulk density, organic C, nutrients, EC, pH will have serious implications on term effects of land use change (Sharma, Rai, Sharma, overall productivity of the ecosystem. & Sharma, 2004; Singh & Yadava, 2006). Climatic sea- Advancing urbanization could have serious ecologi- sonality has been reported to influence the microbial cal and agronomic consequences for developing coun- populations (Diaz-Ravina, Acea, & Carballas, 1993) and tries like India. In India, majority of the lands used for soil microbial biomass (Granatstein, Bezdicek, Cochran, CONTACT surendra singh email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org © 2018 The a uthor(s). published by Informa UK limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an open a ccess article distributed under the terms of the creative c ommons a ttribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. 16 P. K. RAI ET AL. Elliott, & Hammel, 1987; Lynch & Panting, 1980) either Physico-chemical analyses of soil samples directly or by influencing microbial responses to changes Soil characteristics such as electrical conductivity (EC) or, indirectly by influencing plant metabolism. Here, we and pH were determined using EC and pH metre, as measured the soil microbial biomass along a rural–urban described by Sparks (1996). Soil texture (clay, silt, and correlated it with change in soil characteristics such and sand) was determined using international pipette as pH, EC, texture, organic carbon, macro (N, P, K), and method (International Society of Soil Science, [ISSS], micro (Fe, Cu, Zn, Mn) nutrients. 1929). Bulk density (BD) and particle density (PD) of soil were determined by core sampler (Veihmeyer & Materials and methods Hendrickson, 1948) and pycnometer method, respec- tively. Soil moisture content was determined by drying Study area and sampling the soil to a constant weight at 105 °C. Water holding We selected a fertile tract of land in the district Varanasi capacity (WHC) of the soil was determined by Keen (Uttar Pradesh, India), located between 25°19′14·86 N Rackzowski box (Black, 1965). Soil organic carbon latitude and 82°58′12·30 E longitude (Figure 1). The (OC) was determined using K Cr O -H SO oxidation 2 2 7 2 4 tract representing rural, semi-urban, and urban areas, method (Walkley & Black, 1934). was previously used for agriculture but, in a decade, a Micronutrients such as Fe, Cu, Zn, and Mn were part of it, has undergone intense urbanization. The level extracted using diethylene triamine penta-acetic acid of urbanization was characterized on the basis of the (DTPA) and determined by the method of Lindsay and amount of built-up area (buildings, roads, and asphalt Norwell (1978). Available nitrogen (N), phosphorus covered paths). e Th built-up area in rural, sub-urban, (P), and potassium (K) were determined as per Subbiah and urban was 5, 30, and 60%, respectively. Sampling and Asija (1956), Olsen, Cole, Watanable, and Dean area was measured 1 km and experimental design was (1954), and Hanway and Heidal (1952), respectively. random. Soil samples (0–15 cm depth) were randomly Whereas, soil microbial biomass carbon (SMBC), collected in triplicate from different sites of each location nitrogen (SMBN), and phosphorus (SMBP) were using a steel corer. Sampling was done from September analyzed according to Vance, Brookes, and Jenkinson 11 to 21, 2015. Samples were collected in plastic bags, (1987), Brookes, Landman, Pruden, and Jenkinson immediately brought to the laboratory and stored at 4 °C (1985) and Brookes, Powlson, and Jenkinson (1982), for further processing. Soil samples were air dried and respectively. sieved (2 mm) prior to their physico-chemical analysis. Figure 1. l ocation map of the study area of Varanasi. GEOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND LANDSCAPES 17 Statistical analyses Soil properties differed significantly along the gra- dient (p < 0.05 Table 1). Soil pH, EC, texture (except e Th statistical analyses were performed using software sand), BD, PD, WHC, moisture, microbial biomass, and SPSS 20 version. ANOVA and Tukey’s Honest Significant macronutrients showed significant variations (p < 0.05) Difference (HSD) were analyzed to determine the sta- along the gradient. Among the micronutrients Fe and tistical significance between samples along the gradient. Mn showed significant variation (p < 0.05) along the gra- PC-ORD software package (McCune & Mefford, 1999) dient. Soil pH, BD, PD, and silt content increased from was used to create ordinations that indicate the corre- rural to urban section of the gradient (Table 1). While, lation between soil parameters and microbial biomass. EC, clay, WHC, moisture, microbial biomass, organic carbon, macro and micronutrients increased from urban Results to rural section of the gradient (Table 1). Table 1 showed the values of each soil variable suggesting that soil properties varied greatly along the gradient. EC Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) value was high (271.4) for the rural gradient than sub-ur- Figures 2–4 represent the relationship between the ban (246.4) and urban gradient (210.5). Soil pH ranged microbial biomass and physico-chemical variables of from 6.8 to 7.9 along the rural–urban gradient. Urban soils analyzed using canonical correspondence analysis −3 soil has higher BD (1.39 Mg m ) than that of sub-urban (CCA) ordination. Summary of the CCA analysis was −3 −3 (1.36 Mg m ) and rural soils (1.31 Mg m ). Soils of given in Table 2. Eigen values of MBC, MBN, MBP on rural and urban areas have maximum clay (13.6%), and ordination axis 1 and 2 were 0.002 and 0.000, respec- silt content (29.4%) whereas, soil of sub-urban part has tively. Results suggest, between MBC and soil variables, highest (58.3%) sand content. the ordination axis one explained 83.3% variability while Rural soil showed maximal WHC compared to that axis second reported 16.7% of total variation. In case of the sub-urban and urban area. Soil moisture content of MBN, the ordination axis one explained 88.8% var- was 7.2% for rural, (6.8%) for sub-urban and urban iability while the axis second explained 11.2% of total gradient (6.4%) for urban soils, respectively. The soil of variation. Similarly for MBP, the ordination axis one rural parts has higher SMBC, SMBN, and SMBP (134.2, explained 86.3% variability while the axis two explained −1 12.5, and 6.3 μg g soil) than that of sub-urban (121.3, 13.7% of total variation. In ordination plots, the soil var- −1 11.5, and 5.8 μg g soil) and urban (107.4, 10.2, and iables, OC, Av. K, Fe, moisture, clay, EC, Av. P, Av. N, −1 5.1 μg g soil) parts, respectively. Similarly, rural soil WHC, Cu are associated very closely to the rural–urban possessed higher OC (0.44%) than sub-urban (0.42%) gradient and microbial biomass, ae ff cting microbial bio - and urban (0.36%) soils. The soil of rural gradient had mass more. While sand, BD, PD, silt, pH, Zn, and Mn higher levels of macronutrients (N, P, K) than sub-urban have less effect. and urban gradient soil. Among nutrients rural soil con- tended more Fe and Zn than the sub-urban and urban Discussion gradient soils. Contrary to this, levels of Cu and Mn were more in the sub-urban soils than the rural and urban The results suggest that increasing urbanization has soils (Table 1). adversely affected the microbial biomass, along the gra - dient, as previously reported by Scharenbroch, Lloyd, and Johnson-Maynard (2005) and McDonnell et al. Table 1 Mean value of selected (± sd ) soil properties (0–15 cm) along the rural–urban gradient. (1997). Nevertheless, in the study, we analyzed the role of physico-chemical characteristics of soil in bringing Soil proper- ties Urban Sub-urban Rural P Value this change. Soil pH differed significantly along the pH 7.9 ± 0.17 7.5 ± 0.16 6.8 ± 0.20 <0.05 rural–urban gradient. Rural soil was slightly acidic, −1 ec (μs cm ) 210.5 ± 7.5 246.4 ± 13.5 271.4 ± 9.2 <0.05 turning out to be alkaline with increasing urbaniza- clay (%) 12.4 ± 0.02 13.3 ± 0.12 13.6 ± 0.12 <0.05 silt (%) 29.4 ± 0.53 28.0 ± 0.25 26.9 ± 0.64 <0.05 tion. Thereby supporting maximal microbial biomass. s and (%) 56.0 ± 0.43 58.3 ± 0.27 56.7 ± 0.54 >0.05 Maximal microbial biomass was reported at pH of 6.5 −3) Bd (Mg m 1.39 ± 0.01 1.36 ± 0.02 1.31 ± 0.01 <0.05 −3) pd (Mg m 2.3 ± 0.01 2.2 ± ± 0.05 2.1±0.02 <0.05 by Tabatabai (1994), Acosta-Martinez and Tabatabai WHc (%) 31.4 ± 0.06 31.9 ± 0.33 32.5 ± 0.24 <0.05 (2000). Jim (1998a) reported that urban roadside Moisture (%) 6.4 ± 0.12 6.8 ± 0.26 7.2 ± 0.08 <0.05 −1) MBc (μg g 107.4 ± 1.2 121.3 ± 4.7 134.2 ± 3.7 <0.05 soil in Hong Kong was alkaline than natural soil not −1) MBn (μg g 10.2 ± 0.16 11.5 ± 0.40 12.5 ± 0.32 <0.05 affected by urbanization. He implicated the release of −1) MBp (μg g 5.1 ± 0.15 5.8 ± 0.16 6.3 ± 0.22 <0.05 carbonate from the calcareous construction waste for oc (%) 0.36 ± 0.02 0.42 ± 0.02 0.44 ± 0.01 <0.05 −1 n (kg ha ) 133.0 ± 6.1 149.9 ± 8.3 182.3 ± 4.7 <0.05 increase in pH of the soil. We suspect that the use of −1 p (kg ha ) 15.1 ± 1.2 18.6 ± 0.87 20.1 ± 0.58 <0.05 −1 calcium-enriched water, atmospheric pollution, and K (kg ha ) 142.9 ± 3.7 154.7 ± 3.7 170.8 ± 5.2 <0.05 −1 Fe (mg kg ) 6.4 ± 0.24 7.5 ± 0.32 8.6 ± 0.51 <0.05 liming of soil to correct suspected deficiencies may −1 c u (mg kg ) 1.1 ± 0.06 1.5 ± 0.14 1.7 ± 0.06 >0.05 be responsible for alkalinity of urban and sub-urban −1 Zn (mg kg ) 0.3 ± 0.04 0.4 ± 0.02 0.5 ± 0.02 >0.05 −1 Mn (mg kg ) 3.9 ± 0.39 5.2 ± 0.22 5.8 ± 0.18 <0.05 soils of Varanasi. 18 P. K. RAI ET AL. pH BD Sand Mn Silt PD Cu Fe Clay WHC Moisture Sub-Urban OC Rural MBC Urban EC Zn 0 20 40 60 80 100 Axis 1 Figure 2. c anonical correspondence analysis (cca ) ordination illustrating the relationship between the microbial biomass carbon (MBc ) and soil variables (pH, ec, texture, n, p, K, oc, Fe, c u, Zn, Mn) along the urbanization gradient. Mn Mn pH Cu Sand BD Fe Silt PD OC Sub-Urban Clay Rural MBN Urban Moisture WHC EC Zn 0 20 40 60 80 100 Axis 1 Figure 3. c anonical correspondence analysis (cca ) ordination illustrating the relationship between the microbial biomass nitrogen (MBn) and soil variables (pH, ec, texture, n, p , K, oc, Fe, c u, Zn, Mn) along the urbanization gradient. Axis 2 Axis 2 GEOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND LANDSCAPES 19 pH Mn Mn BD Sand Cu Silt PD Fe Clay WHC Sub-Urban OC Moisture Rural MBP Urban EC Zn 0 20 40 60 80 100 Axis 1 Figure 4. c anonical correspondence analysis (cca ) ordination illustrating the relationship between the microbial biomass phosphorus (MBp) and soil variables (pH, ec, texture, n, p, K, oc, Fe, c u, Zn, Mn) along the urbanization gradient. Table 2. axis summary statistics of cca analysis between the soil variables and microbial biomass (MBc, MBn, MBp) along the rural–urban gradient. MBC MBN MBP Axis 1 Axis 2 Axis 1 Axis 2 Axis 1 Axis 2 eigen-value 0.002 0.000 0.002 0.000 0.002 0.000 Variance in species data % of variance explained 83.3 16.7 88.8 11.2 86.3 13.7 c umulative % explained 83.3 100.00 88.8 100.00 86.3 100.0 Further, high BD of the urban soil compared to that of clay content lead to more stabilization of soil OC and sub-urban and rural soils may be due to relatively high higher microbial biomass (Schimel et al., 1994). soil compaction in urban areas (Nowak, Hoehn, Crane, We observed a significant variation in OC along Stevens, & Walton, 2007; Pouyat, Szlavecz, Yesilonis, the gradient. OC was high in rural soil than that of Groffman, & Schwarz, 2010). Increased BD results the sub-urban and urban soils. Similar results were in depletion of soil moisture and air space, leading to reported by Jim (1998a, 1998b) and Chen, Liu, and reduction in WHC of the soil (Jim, 1998a). Depletion Tao (2013). The availability and amount of OC is the in moisture and increase in BD may lead to reduction in key factor ae ff cting activity and structure of the micro- soil OC and PD of urban soil (Scharenbroch et al., 2005). bial community and microbial biomass content in the We reported that the clay content was high in the soils (Degens, Schipper, Sparling, & Vojvodic-Vukovic, rural soils than that of sub-urban and urban soils. Clay 2000). Change in soil moisture, texture, temperature, particles interact with soil organic matter to form aggre- altered soil community, soil hydrophobicity etc., due to gates that protect the organic matter from decomposi- physical disturbance, land management practices, and tion (Hassink & Whitmore, 1997). Soils with higher clay local climate fluctuation are major factors directly ae ff ct- contents tend to have greater organic matter (Hassink, ing the soil carbon pool from natural to urban system Bouwman, Zwart, Bloem, & Brussard, 1993; Jenkinson, (Bandaranayake, Quian, Parton, Ojima, & Follet, 2003; 1988), which is crucial in determining the microbial bio- Pouyat, Yesilonis, & Nowak, 2006). mass, microbial activity, and composition of microbial We reported high concentrations of macronutrients community (McCulley & Burke, 2004). Soils with high (N, P, K) rural soils. High soil pH could have ae ff cted the Axis 2 20 P. K. RAI ET AL. nitrogen mineralization and nitrification processes in Funding urban soil (Baxter, Pickett, Dighton, & Carreiro, 2002), This work was supported by the University Grants resulting in depletion of nitrogen content in urban soil to Commission [Pradeep Kumar Rai]. that of the sub-urban and rural soils (Jim, 1998a; Zhang, Xu, & Wang, 2010). 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Geology Ecology and Landscapes – Taylor & Francis
Published: Jan 2, 2018
Keywords: Urbanization; microbial biomass; ANOVA; bulk density
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