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The Effects Of Biocidal Treatments On Metabolism In Soil—V: A Method For Measuring Soil Biomass

D. Jenkinson, D. Powlson
Published 1976 · Environmental Science

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A new method for the determination of biomass in soil is described. Soil is fumigated with CHCl3 vapour, the CHCl3 removed and the soil then incubated. The biomass is calculated from the difference between the amounts of CO2 evolved during incubation by fumigated and unfumigated soil. The method was tested on a set of nine soils from long-term field experiments. The amounts of biomass C ha−1 in the top 23 cm of soil from plots on the Broadbalk continuous wheat experiment were 530 kg (unmanured plot), 590 (plot receiving inorganic fertilizers) and 1160 (plot receiving farmyard manure). Soils that had been fallowed for 1 year contained less biomass than soils carrying a crop. A calcareous woodland soil contained 1960 kg biomass C ha−1, and an unmanured soil under permanent grass 2020. The arable soils contained about 2% of their organic C in the biomass; uncultivated soils a little more—about 3%.
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