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Soil Microbial Biomass and Sustainable Farming: Enhancing Nutrient Retention in Soils through Management of Microbial Biomass pp.93-102 $100.00
Authors:  (Song Qiu, Richard Bell, Arthur McComb, School of Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Australia)
Abstract:
Soil fertility is critical in sustainable farming and needs to be considered not only for
crop productivity but also for the protection of aquatic environments. Evidence suggests
that soil microbial biomass is a flexible nutrient store, and with appropriate management
such a nutrient store could have potential dual benefits for improved crop productivity
and enhanced nutrient retention in soils to minimize nutrient export from agricultural land
to environmental waters. To date, most research has focused on stimulating the release of
nutrients from the microbial biomass pool for crop uptake. By contrast, our understanding
of microbial biomass as a soil regulator to buffer nutrient supply and potential leaching
loss is still limited. Such a role however could be usefully explored in heavily weathered
and nutrient-deficient sandy soils under Mediterranean climate conditions, such as soils
in the coastal region of southwestern Australia. Here we present our views on the critical
aspects of microbial immobilisation in relation to soil fertility and nutrient retention, and
propose a conceptual framework for such a role of microbial nutrient retention. This is
supported by previously reported data on microbial immobilisation and nutrient retention.
The critical issues such as the size of soil microbial biomass and the time scale for
biomass turnover, as well as its potential mobility in soil matrices are discussed along
with the research needs in understanding the role of soil microbial processes in sustained
soil fertility and environmental conservation. 


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Soil Microbial Biomass and Sustainable Farming: Enhancing Nutrient Retention in Soils through Management of Microbial Biomass pp.93-102