Metabolic activity of soil

Contact: Grazia Masciandaro (Unit of Pisa)
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This study is aimed at investigating specific biomarkers of soil quality and functionality; in particular, the properties that are related to the cycles of bio-elements (C, N, P and S), especially to the transformation of the organic matter in soil (diversity and activity of microbial biomass as well as activity of the soil hydrolytic enzymes) are evaluated. These biomarkers have been considered of relevant importance because of their direct involvement in the processes of degradation and functional recovery of degraded soil ecosystems.



Changes of specific biomarkers of soil quality (hydrolytic soil enzyme activities, microbial activity) have been evaluated in soil under different rehabilitation practice. As an example, in a study carried out in the framework of the EU project ALMOND PRO-SOIL (LIFE 05-E-000288 2005/2008) consistently higher values of the dehydrogenase activity were observed in the presence of plants (almond variety tuono in the franco and GF677 rootstocks) suggesting an improvement of the conditions for soil microorganisms in carrying out their metabolic activity.