Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira
Print version ISSN 0100-204X
OLIVEIRA, Christiane Abreu de et al. Decomposition of Arachis pintoi and Hyparrhenia rufa litters in monoculture and intercropped systems under lowland soil. Pesq. agropec. bras. [online]. 2003, vol.38, n.9, pp. 1089-1095. ISSN 0100-204X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-204X2003000900010.
Tropical grasslands under lowland soils are generally underutilized and the litter of forage legumes may be used to recover these degraded pastures. The objective of this work was to study the dynamics of litter decomposition of Arachis pintoi (pinto peanut), Hyparrhenia rufa (thatching grass) and a mixture of both species in a lowland soil. These treatments were analyzed in three areas: grass monoculture, legume monoculture and legume intercropped with the grass during the dry and wet seasons. Litter bags containing the legume, grass or a mixture of both species were incubated to estimate the decomposition rate and microorganism colonization. Decomposition constants (K) and litter half-lives (T1/2) were estimated by an exponential model whereas number of microorganisms in specific media were determined by plate dilution. The decomposition rate, release of nutrients and microorganisms number, especially bacteria, increased when pinto peanut was added to thatching grass, influenced by favorable lignin/N and C/N ratios in legume litter. When pinto peanut litter was incubated in the grass plots, 50% N and P was released within about 135 days in the dry season and in the wet season, the equivalent release occurred within 20 days. These results indicate that A. pintoi has a great potential for nutrient recycling via litter and can be used to recover degraded areas.
Keywords : forage; microorganisms; pinto peanuts; soil organic matter; thatching grass.