Effect of organic amendments and sulfur on chemical and biological properties of a sodic soil


Saline soils cause concern in the productive systems of arid and semi-arid regions of the planet, since they cause a decrease in crop yield due to the osmotic effect, the presence of excess exchangeable Na which causes degradation of the soil structure, and the effect of the specific ion (Na, Cl, B) that can cause toxicity and imbalances in the nutrition of plants. Therefore, it is necessary to look for management alternatives to improve the productivity of these soils. To this end, we evaluated the effect of the application of Prosopis juliflora green manure (GM), palm oil residue vermicompost  (VERM) and mineral sulfur (S°), on the chemical and biological properties of a Typic Haplustept sodium soil cultivated with Zea mays, using 3 t of organic matter ha-1 of GM or VERM and 1.4 t ha-1 of S° as unique treatments or mixed applications. The biological properties of soil microbial biomass (BMS), soil microbial respiration (RMS) and the activity of the enzymes phosphatases (alkaline and acid), protease and hydrolytic activity of the soil through the hydrolysis of fluorescein diacetate (FDA) were determined; as well as some chemical properties of the soil associated with sodicity. The effect on the biological properties of the soil depended on the type of amendment used and its composition, due to the differences found between treatments. In general, the application of organic amendments positively affected the RMS, BMS and the hydrolytic activity of the soil, while the application of S° increased the BMS but decreased the RMS and the enzymatic activity of phosphatases, proteases and hydrolases. The chemical variables studied also showed significant differences between treatments, with the presence of S° presenting significant differences in the greatest number of variables. In conclusion, applications of organic amendments mixed with S° positively affect the biological and chemical properties of sodium soils of the Colombian Caribbean region, since BMS is stimulated and sodium saturation is reduced.
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