Organic amendments and land management affect bacterial community composition, diversity and biomass in avocado crop soils

Nuria Bonilla, Francisco M. Cazorla, Maira Martínez-Alonso, J. M. Hermoso, Jorge J. González-Fernández, Núria Gaju, Blanca B. Landa, Antonio de Vicente

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58 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aims: The avocado-producing area of southern Spain includes conventional orchards and organic orchards that use different organic amendments. To gain insight into the effects of these amendments, physicochemical properties and microbial communities of the soil were analysed in a representative set of commercial and experimental orchards. Methods: The population size of several groups of culturable microorganisms was determined by plating on different selective media. Bacterial community structure was studied by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE)Results: Commercial composts showed the largest effects, especially the animal compost, enhancing the population sizes of some microbial groups and affecting bacterial community structure in superficial and deep soil layers. Moreover, animal and vegetal compost, manure and blood meal addition are related to high bacterial diversity in the superficial soil layer. Conclusions: All of the organic amendments used in this study affect soil properties in one or more of the characteristics that were analysed. Culturable microbial population data revealed the most evident effects of some of the organic treatments. However, molecular analysis of soil bacterial communities by DGGE allowed the detection of the influence of all of the analysed amendments on bacterial community composition. This effect was stronger in the superficial layer of the avocado soil. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-226
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012


  • Almond shells
  • Community structure
  • Compost
  • DGGE
  • Manure
  • Microbial diversity
  • Organic crop


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