A comparison of different indices for nitrogen mineralization

J.J.R. Groot, V.J.B. Houba

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    Abstract

    Indices of N mineralization in soils of contrasting texture, pH, and organic matter contents were compared at different dates during the growing season. The indices were derived from a 12-week aerobic incubation, determination of the amount of microbial biomass at the start of the incubation, determination of the increase in NH4+after boiling with 2 M KCl for 2h, and extraction of total soluble N with 0.01 M CaCl2. Cumulative mineral N increased linearly with time in the course of the incubations. Rates of mineralization in soil samples taken in March 1989 and 1990 were significantly correlated with soluble organic N, while correlations between the mineralization rate and the increase in NH4+after boiling with 2 M KCl for 2 h were poor for sandy soils and absent for loamy soils. Correlations between NH4+after boiling with 2 M KCl for 2h and the soil N concentration were highly significant, but no general relationship was found between the mineralization rate and the soil N concentration. Neither biomass N nor biomass C was significantly correlated with the mineralization rate or with one of the chemical indices. Among the methods tested, soluble organic N extracted with 0.01 M CaCl2 was the only method with any promise for routine measurement of the mineralization capacity of the individual sites.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    JournalBiology and Fertility of Soils
    Volume19
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1995

    Keywords

    • mineralization

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