Exploring the dynamics of soil water repellency – NZ soils are measured for enzyme activities

Plant and Soil Research today reports that scientists have  measured soil enzyme activities in relation to soil water repellency.

Soils were sampled in six locations on the east coast of North Island of New Zealand with a range of soil physico-chemical properties and enzyme activities measured.

Soil water repellency – a common phenomenon around the world – creates a skin on the soil surface which prevents water from being absorbed into the soil and deprives plants and microbes of critical moisture, slowing growth.

Despite the importance of this phenomenon, the processes involved in the development and breakdown of soil water repellency are poorly understood, Plant and Soil Research says.

But it is apparent that the microbial community plays an important role.

The study reported by Plant and Food Research identified some key enzymes involved in soil water repellency.

Understanding the action of these enzymes and how they relate to repellency is expected to help in the development of soil management practices to remediate soil water repellency and improve soil quality.

Research was completed under Plant and Food Research’s Sustainable Agro-ecosystems (SAE) program, with funding from the Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF).

Journal Reference:

Simpson, R, Mason, K, Robertson, K Müller K 2019. Relationship between soil properties and enzyme activities with soil water repellency. Soil Research http://www.publish.csiro.au/SR/SR18199

Source:  Plant and Soil Research

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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