Impact of faba bean (Vicia faba L.) cultivation on soil microbiological activity
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Faba bean (Vicia faba L.) is widely grown not only as an important protein source for food and feed, but as a component in different cropping systems to improve soil quality. Beans are grown using different soil management practices, moreover, legume seeds often are inoculated before sowing. Microorganisms, introduced in the soil as an inoculum, affect not only inoculated plants, but these microorganisms can remain in the soil for the next growing season and can also affect the subsequent crops. Seed inoculation can stimulate production of root exudates as well as change microbial diversity and structure. The aim of the present study was to estimate the soil microbiological activity in soils where faba beans were cultivated with different rhizobia inoculants obtained from collection of Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies. Another trial was established where faba beans were included in different crop rotations under two tillage systems. During both trials, soil microbiological activity was analysed. Soil respiration intensity was measured by changes of carbon dioxide. Soil enzymatic activity was assessed by dehydrogenase activity and fluorescein diacetate (FDA) hydrolysis intensity. The total number of bacteria, fungi and rhizobia was expressed as colony forming units (CFU) g-1 dry soil. Soil microbiological activity depended on the cultivated crop and the crop rotation. Faba bean inoculation method had less impact on the ratio between analysed microorganism groups than on the activity of soil enzymes.