Does soil biology hold the key to optimized slurry management? A manifesto for research

J.A. Harris*, S.F. Tyrrel, K. Ritz, G.J. Lanigan, B.S. Griffiths, F.P. Brennan, F. Bourdin, P.A. Massey, E.L. Moynihan, N.E. Rogers, M.G. Kibblewhite, M. Pawlett, R. Sakrabani, N.J. Hoekstra, R.E. Creamer, R.P.O. Schulte, K.G. Richards

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The application of agricultural biosolids to land is likely to increase on farms as pressures intensify to manage nutrients and carbon, especially with regard to slurry. Although much work has been carried out in this area, it has tended to focus on specific aspects of the application-use cycle, without a coherent framework and notably the role of soil biology has been little studied in this context, or considered appropriately in the development and application of slurry management systems. In this review article we present a hypothesis that the configuration of the soil microbial community is determined by the history of long-term inputs to which the community has been subjected and that the resultant configuration determines the instantaneous responses of the associated soil to the presence of slurries, and posit a set of critical questions which would effectively test this.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-469
Number of pages6
JournalSoil Use and Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Agriculture
  • Carbon
  • Land use
  • Nutrients
  • Slurry
  • Soil biodiversity
  • Sustainable land use


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