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Evaluation of soil respiration characteristics to assess heavy-metal effects on soil-microorganisms using glutamic-acid as a substrate

  • Anders Nordgren
  • Erland Bååth
  • Bengt Söderström
Publishing year: 1988
Language: English
Pages: 949-954
Publication/Series: Soil Biology & Biochemistry
Volume: 20
Issue: 6
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Computerized continuous monitoring of soil respiration rates before and during glutamic acid decomposition in heavy metal polluted soils was used to determine four microbial parameters: basal respiration rate, substrate induced respiration rate, lag time before the exponential increase of the soil respiration rate and the specific respiration increment during the exponential phase. Both smelter- and laboratory-contaminated soils were studied.

Basal respiration rate was the parameter most inhibited (54–77%) by heavy metal contamination. Increased soil moisture resulted in increased basal respiration rate, irrespective of pollution level. The substrate-induced respiration rate after the addition of glutamic acid was strongly correlated with the basal respiration rate (r = 0.85−0.95). The change in specific respiration increment was not related to metal contamination but increased with increasing soil moisture, with an optimum at about 250% H2O based on soil organic matter (oven-dried). Lag time was the parameter best correlated with smelter-induced metal contamination (r = 0.64 and 0.75). Unlike the three other parameters, the lag time was unaffected by soil moisture, irrespective of contamination level.


  • Biological Sciences


  • Microbial Ecology
  • ISSN: 0038-0717
Erland Bååth
E-mail: erland [dot] baath [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emeritus


+46 46 222 42 64


Sölvegatan 37, Lund