Alteration and resilience of the soil microbial community following compost amendment: effects of compost level and compost-borne microbial community

Environ Microbiol. 2006 Feb;8(2):247-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2005.00892.x.


Compost amendment has been reported to impact soil microbial activities or community composition. However, little information is available on (i) to what extent compost amendment concurrently affects the activity, size and composition of soil microbial community, (ii) the relative effect of the addition of a material rich in organic matter versus addition of compost-borne microorganisms in explaining the effects of amendment and (iii) the resilience of community characteristics. We compared five treatments in microcosms: (i) control soil (S), (ii) soil + low level of compost (Sc), (iii) soil + high level of compost (SC), (iv) sterilized soil + high level of compost [(S)C] and (v) soil + high level of sterilized compost [S(C)]. The actual C mineralization rate, substrate-induced respiration, size of microbial community (biomass and heterotrophic cells number), and structure of total microbial (phospholipid fatty acids) and bacterial (automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis, A-RISA) communities were surveyed during 6 months after amendment. Our results show that (i) compost amendment affected the activity, size and composition of the soil microbial community, (ii) the effect of compost amendment was mainly due to the physicochemical characteristics of compost matrix rather than to compost-borne microorganisms and (iii) no resilience of microbial characteristics was observed 6-12 months after amendment with a high amount of compost.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Biomass*
  • Carbon / analysis
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Soil / analysis*
  • Soil / standards
  • Soil Microbiology / standards*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Soil
  • Carbon