Microbial activity of soil cultivated with corn in association with weeds under different fertility managements

Christiane Melo1*, Ci­ntia Fialho1, Autieres Faria1, Manoel Neto1, Douglas Saraiva1, Mauri­cio Costa2, Lino Ferreira1, and Francisco Affonso Ferreira1
Interactions between weeds and soil microorganisms can give them a competitive advantage over crops. This study assessed the biomass and microbial activity of soil cultivated with weeds and corn (Zea mays L.) in monoculture and in competition under different fertility management systems. The experiment considered four soil fertility management systems (calcium and magnesium silicate + fertilization; limestone + fertilization; no correction source + fertilization; no correction source + no fertilization) and 12 crops (five competition arrangements between corn and weeds Urochloa brizantha (Hochst. ex A. Rich.) R.D. Webster, Ipomoea grandifolia (Dammer) O’Donell, Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronquist, Hyptis suaveolens (L.) Poit., and Bidens pilosa L. plus the six species in monoculture and bare soil. After 60 d coexisting in a greenhouse, soil samples were collected to determine microbial biomass, respiration rate, and metabolic quotient. Soils cultivated with B. pilosa and Z. mays+U. brizantha showed higher microbial biomass. Cultivation of B. pilosa and Z. mays+H. suaveolens provided greater energy efficiency to maintain microbial cells. Biomass and microbial activity were altered by plant species, coexistence, and soil fertility management. Calcium and magnesium silicate, as well as limestone similarly influenced biomass and respiration rate of soil cultivated with most species. For some crops, the Si source was better than limestone to promote lower specific activity of the edaphic microbiota. The change in the microbial activity of soil can be a strategy used by the species to minimize the effects of competition.
Keywords: Calcium and magnesium silicate, soil microorganism/weed interaction, interference, limestone, microbial biomass, soil metabolic quotient, Zea mays.
1Universidade Federal de Viçosa UFV, Centro de Ciências Agrárias, Av. PH Rolfs, s/n, Campus Universitário, Viçosa-MG, CEP 36570-900, Brasil. *Corresponding author (christiane.melo@ufv.br)
2Universidade Federal de Viçosa UFV, Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Viçosa-MG, Brasil.