By-products as an amendment of a mine soil: effects on microbial biomass determined using phospholipid fatty acids


In the present work, the effect of two by-products (pine bark and crushed mussel shell) on microbial biomass and community structure was studied in a soil from a mine tailing located in a copper mine. In a laboratory experiment, different doses (0, 12, 24, 48, 96 and 192 Mg ha-1) of pine bark, crushed mussel shell or mixtures of both by-products were added to the soil. The amended soil samples were incubated for one year at 60% of water holding capacity, and then 33 phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) were extracted from these samples and quantified. The PLFAs concentrations were used for different microbial biomass estimations: total biomass, bacterial biomass, fungal biomass, gram-positive (G+) biomass and gram-negative (G-) biomass. The addition of crushed mussel had no significant effects on the total soil microbial biomass, either bacterial of fungal biomass. However, the addition of pine bark increased the total microbial biomass in the soil (up to 40%), mainly due to increases in the fungal biomass (it increased 1600%). No synergistic effects were observed when the soil was amended with both, pine bark and crushed mussel shell. The main community structure changes were due to the addition of pine bark to the soil, and were also due to modifications in fungal communities. Our results suggest that the microbial biomass was mainly limited in the mine soil by low organic matter concentrations, and therefore, practices increasing the amount of soil organic matter should be priorities for soil reclamation.


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