Soil Microbial Biomass Carbon and Nitrogen as Influenced by Organic and Inorganic Inputs at Kabete, Kenya
Baaru, M. W.
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Soil microbial biomass is the main driving force in the decomposition of organic materials and is frequently used as an early indicator of changes in soil properties resulting from soil management and environment stresses in agricultural ecosystems This study was designed to assess the effects of organic and inorganic inputs on soil microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen overtime at Kabete, Kenya. Tithonia diversifolia, Cassia spectabilis, Calliandra calothyrsus were applied as organic resources, and Urea as inorganic source. Soil was sampled at 0–10 cm depth before incorporating the inputs and every two months thereafter and at harvesting in a maize-cropping season. Soil microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen was determined by Fumigation Extraction method (FE) while carbon evolution was measured by Fumigation Incubation (FI) method. The results indicated a general increase in soil microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen in the season with the control recording lower values than all the treatments. Microbial biomass carbon, nitrogen and carbon dioxide evolution was affected by both quality of the inputs added and the time of plant growth. Tithonia recorded relatively higher values of microbial biomass carbon, nitrogen and carbon evolution than all the other treatments. A significant difference was recorded between the control and the organically treated soils at the of the season for the microbial biomass nitrogen and carbon dioxide evolution. Both the microbial biomass C and N showed a significance difference (P $⩽0.05) in the different months of the season