The Burning of Sugarcane Plantation in the Tropics Modifies the Microbial and Enzymatic Processes in Soil and Rhizosphere

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition








Bacteria; Nitrogen; Phosphatase; Phosphorus; Respiration; Urease


© 2019, Sociedad Chilena de la Ciencia del Suelo. In this study were examined chemical, microbiological, and enzymatic changes at different depths of the soil and rhizosphere, produced by the burning of a commercial sugarcane crop in tropical areas of México. Samples of silty loamy soil and rhizosphere were collected at three times in the sugarcane production cycle: before burning (BB), after first burning (AFB), and after second burnings (ASB), with a general interval of 15 days between the first and the third collection date. Soil organic matter (SOM), soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (Nt), phosphorus available (Pav), pH, and the C/N ratio were determined in soil and rhizosphere, as well as the enzymatic activities of phosphatase and urease. Furthermore, microbial respiration, microbial biomass, and nitrogen-fixing bacteria (NFB) and phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB) densities were monitored during 84 days. The Pav and the pH increased significantly in soil samples affected by the second burning of the stubbles, but SOM, SOC, Nt, the C/N ratio, phosphatase, and urease activities decreased as a result of the first and second burnings. This decrease was more pronounced in non-rhizospheric soil. The densities of NFB and PSB increased with the burning, as well as microbial respiration. All the variables evaluated recorded higher values in the soil surface layer.

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