Decomposition of maize straw in saline soil

X. Li, F. Li, B. Singh, Z. Cui, Zed Rengel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The interactive effects of salinity and water on organic matter decomposition in soil are poorly known. A loamy topsoil adjusted to five concentrations of salinity (0, 31, 62, 93 and 124 mmol Na kg(-1) soil) using either NaCl or Na2SO4 was incubated at a water content of either 17 or 25% (w/w) in the dark at 28.5 degrees C for 47 days, with maize straw added at 20 g kg(-1) soil. Comparing with non-saline soil, (1) NaCl salinity at all levels decreased cumulative CO2 evolved during days 1-3 (averaged across two water levels), increased in the period 4-32 days at both water contents, and thereafter caused variable effects, depending upon water content and salinity; and (2) Na2SO4 salinity at various levels mainly caused no effect on cumulative CO2 evolved during days 1-3 (averaged across two water levels), and thereafter (i.e. in days 4-47) caused mainly positive effects at 17% (w/w) water content and negative effects at 25% (w/w) water content. Cumulative CO2 evolved over 47 days for both types of salinities was mainly greater at 17% (w/w) and smaller at 25% (w/w) water content compared with non-saline soil. Generally, at 25% (w/w) than at 17% (w/w) water content, there was a greater CO2 evolved over 47 days, and also during different incubation phases for both types of salinities; the difference at low salinity levels was generally large and decreased as salinity increased. In conclusion, the salinity effect depends on soil water content and incubation period or decomposition phase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-370
JournalBiology and Fertility of Soils
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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