versão impressa ISSN 0103-9016
SILVEIRA, Maria Lucia Azevedo. Dissolved organic carbon and bioavailability of N and P as indicators of soil quality. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) [online]. 2005, vol.62, n.5, pp. 502-508. ISSN 0103-9016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-90162005000500017.
Soil quality has become an important issue in soil science. Considerable attempts have been made to define soil quality, but a general concept has not yet been accepted by the scientific community. The selection of quantitative indices for soil quality is extremely difficult, and a considerable number of chemical, physical, and biochemical properties have been suggested as potential indicators of soil quality. Because soil organic matter (SOM) can be associated with different soil chemical, physical and biological processes, it has been widely considered as one of the best soil quality indicator. Land use can significantly influence dynamics of organic carbon and N, P, and S cycle. However, changes in total soil organic carbon (SOC) contents in response to land use may be difficult to detect because of the natural soil variability. In the short to medium term, biological properties and readily decomposable fractions of SOC, such as dissolved organic carbon (DOC), are much more sensitive to soil management than is SOM as a whole, and can be used as a key indicator of soil natural functions. Despite the fact that labile C accounts for a small portion of the total organic matter in the soils, DOC is the most mobile and important C-source for microorganisms, and can easily reflect the effects of land use on soil quality. Although several methods are used to characterize DOC, the factors influencing mineralization and bioavailability of elements associated with organic matter (N, P, and S) remains unclear. Future research should focus on the processes that govern DOC and nutrient dynamics and how they affect soil quality.
Palavras-chave : ecosystem management; sustainability; indicators of soil quality.