Wen-Feng Cong og Jørgen Eriksen
The research was supported fi nancially by the Green Development and Demonstration Program ‘ MultiPlant ’ project [grant number 34009- 13-0678] and coordinated by the International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS).
Based on a three-year grassland experiment varying in species diversity and composition with and without fertilizer application, we determined soil microbial community composition and functions related to C and N cycling under laboratory incubations. Results showed that inclusion of caraway modified soil microbial community composition by enhancing fungal-to-bacterial phospholipid fatty acids of the ryegrass-red clover mixture. Adding plantain to the ryegrass-red clover mixture increased the relative decomposition rate of the labile C pool, but not of the recalcitrant C pool. Yet, β-glucosidase activity and net N mineralization were unchanged due to inclusion of either forb. Moreover, fertilization with cattle slurry generally weakened these forb-induced changes in soil microbial properties. These findings demonstrate that adding selected forbs to unfertilized grass-clover leys can modify soil microbial community composition and associated C and N cycling, implying a potential for promoting long-term soil C sequestration through enhanced fungi-to-bacteria ratio, but a limited role in improving soil N fertility.
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