Effect of soil moisture and bovine urine on microbial stress
Bertram, Janet E.; Orwin, Kate H.; Clough, Timothy J.; Condron, Leo M.; Sherlock, Robert R.; O'Callaghan, M.
While many studies have examined the cycling of urinary nutrients, few have focused on the effects ruminant urine might have on the soil microbial community. Urine application can cause microbial communities to become stressed, potentially changing community composition and microbial function with subsequent effects on nutrient dynamics. Identification of the factors that stress microbes may assist in explaining ruminant urine effects on nutrient cycling. In this laboratory study bovine urine, with either a high (15.0 g K⁺ l⁻1) or low (10.4 g K⁺ l⁻1) salt concentration, was added to repacked soil cores maintained at high or low soil moisture contents (70 or 35% water-filled pore space, respectively). Control cores did not receive urine. Microbial stress was measured using phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) biomarker ratios. Urine addition increased stress as indicated by a decrease in the iso15:0/anteiso15:0 PLFA ratio from >1.35 to <0.95 in both wet and dry soils and by an increase in the 18:1ω9trans/18:1ω9cis PLFA ratio from 1.4 to 1.9 from day 8 onwards in wet soils. Higher stress was indicated by a lower Gram-positive/Gram-negative PLFA ratio in the urine treatments than in the control treatments on day 29 and this may have been a response to the reduction in substrate availability as the experiment progressed. The PLFA biomarkers showed that the salt treatments did not induce stress. Stress induced by urine addition and wet soil treatments was also indicated by principal component analyses and the metabolic quotient for CO₂, respectively. Thus microbial stress was induced by both urine addition and high soil moisture content, but not specifically by increasing the urinary salt concentration.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsbovine urine; microbial stress; phospholipid fatty acid analysis; soil moisture content; urinary salt; Agronomy & Agriculture
- Metadata-only (no full-text) 
© 2012 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.