Responses of Low-Quality Soil Microbial Community Structure and Activities to Application of a Mixed Material of Humic Acid, Biochar, and Super Absorbent Polymer

J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2020 Sep 28;30(9):1310-1320. doi: 10.4014/jmb.2003.03047.


Low-quality soil for land reuse is a crucial problem in vegetation quality and especially to waste disposal sites in mining areas. It is necessary to find suitable materials to improve the soil quality and especially to increase soil microbial diversity and activity. In this study, pot experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of a mixed material of humic acid, super absorbent polymer and biochar on low-quality soil indexes and the microbial community response. The indexes included soil physicochemical properties and the corresponding plant growth. The results showed that the mixed material could improve chemical properties and physical structure of soil by increasing the bulk density, porosity, macro aggregate, and promote the mineralization of nutrient elements in soil. The best performance was achieved by adding 3 g·kg-1 super absorbent polymer, 3 g·kg-1 humic acid, and 10 g·kg-1 biochar to soil with plant total nitrogen, dry weight and height increased by 85.18%, 266.41% and 74.06%, respectively. Physicochemical properties caused changes in soil microbial diversity. Acidobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Cyanobacteria, Firmicutes, Nitrospirae, Planctomycetes, and Proteobacteria were significantly positively correlated with most of the physical, chemical and plant indicators. Actinobacteria and Armatimonadetes were significantly negatively correlated with most measurement factors. Therefore, this study can contribute to improving the understanding of low-quality soil and how it affects soil microbial functions and sustainability.

Keywords: Humic acid; biochar; low-quality soil; soil improvement; soil microbial community; super absorbent polymer.