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Assessment of Soil Health in Urban Agriculture: Soil Enzymes and Microbial Properties

The addition of organic fertilizers tended to increase most enzyme activities and available nutrients in the soils, as compared to that of inorganic fertilizers

By Avanthi Deshani Igalavithana, Sang Soo Lee, Nabeel Khan Niazi, Young-Han Lee, Kye Hoon Kim, Jeoung-Hun Park, Deok Hyun Moon, and Yong Sik Ok
Feb 20, 2017


Urban agriculture has been recently highlighted with the increased importance for recreation in modern society; however, soil quality and public health may not be guaranteed because of continuous exposure to various pollutants. The objective of this study was to evaluate the soil quality of urban agriculture by soil microbial assessments. Two independent variables, organic and inorganic fertilizers, were considered. The activities of soil enzymes including dehydrogenase, ?-glucosidase, arylsulfatase, urease, alkaline and acid phosphatases were used as indicators of important microbial mediated functions and the soil chemical properties were measured in the soils applied with organic or inorganic fertilizer for 10 years. Fatty acid methyl ester analysis was applied to determine the soil microbial community composition.

Relatively higher microbial community richness and enzyme activities were found in the organic fertilizers applied soils as compared to the inorganic fertilizers applied soils. Principal component analysis explained the positive influence of organic fertilizers on the microbial community. The application of organic fertilizers can be a better alternative compared to inorganic fertilizers for the long-term health and security of urban agriculture.

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