Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE A

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 196–201 | Cite as

Comparison of the effects of copper and lead on soil microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen in red soil

  • Wa’el Mohamad
  • Huang Chang-yong
  • Xie Zheng-miao
Science & Engineering


A laboratory incubation experiment was conducted to study the effect of copper as cupric sulfate (CuSO4.5H2O), and lead as lead acetate (Pb (OAc)2) on the size of the microbial biomass in red soil. The metals were applied, separately at six different levels: Cu at 50, 100, 200, 300, 400, and 600 μg·g−1 soil and Pb at 100, 200, 400, 600, 800, and 1000 μg·g−1 soil. In comparison to uncontaminated soil, the microbial biomass carbon (Cmic) and biomass nitrogen (Nmic) decreased sharply in soils contaminated with Cu and Pb. The microbial biomass C:N ratio in the metal contaminated soil was observed to be considerably higher than that in untreated control. Between the two tested metals, Cu displayed greater biocidal effect on microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen than Pb, showing their relative toxicity in the order: Cu≫Pb.

Key words

copper lead microbial biomass red soil 

Document code

CLC number

X43 TV24 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alloway, B. J., 1990. Heavy Metals in Soils. Blackie, Glasgow, p. 153–173.Google Scholar
  2. Aoyama, M. and Nagumo, T., 1997. Comparison of the effect of Cu, Pb and As on plant residue decomposition, microbial biomass and soil respiration.Soil Sci. plant Nut. 43: 613–622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baath, E., 1989. Effects of heavy metals in soil on microbial processes and populations (A review).Water, Air, Soil Pollut. 47: 335–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bardgett, R. D., Speir, T. W., Ross, D. J. et al., 1994. Impact of pasture contamination by copper, chromium, and arsenic timber preservatives on soil microbial properties and nematodes.Biol. Fertil. Soils. 18: 71–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brookes, P. C., Kragt, J. F., Powlson, D. S. et al., 1985a. Chloroform fumigation and the release of soil nitrogen: the effects of fumigation time and temperature.Soil Biol. Biochem. 17: 831–835.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brookes, P. C., Landman, A., Pruden, G. et al., 1985b. Chloroform fumigation and the release of soil nitrogen: a rapid extraction method to measure microbial biomass N in soil.Soil Biol. Biochem. 17: 837–842.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen, H. M., Zheng, C. R. and Sun, X. H., 1991a. Effect of anions on adsorbility and extractability of lead added in soil.Pedosphere. 1: 51–62.Google Scholar
  8. Chen, H. M., Zheng, C. R. and Sun, X. H., 1991b. Effect of different lead compounds on growth and heavy metal uptake of wetland rice.Pedosphere. 1: 253–264.Google Scholar
  9. Cook N. and Hendershot W. H., 1996. The problem of establishing ecologically based soil quality criteria: The case of lead. Can.J. Soil Sci. 76: 335–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. CoStat Statistical Software, 1990. CoStat, Manual Revision 4.2, 271 p.Google Scholar
  11. Cotrufo, M. F., Do Santo, A. V., Alfani, A. et al., 1995. Effects of urban heavy metal pollution on organic matter decomposition in quercus ilex L. WoodEnviron. Pollut. 89: 81–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Doelman, P., 1985. Resistance of soil microbial communities to heavy metals.In Micronutrients in Soil. Ed. by Jensen, A. K. and Sorensen, L. H., Elsevier Applied Science Publishers, London. p. 364–384.Google Scholar
  13. Fliebach, A., Martens, R. and Reber, H., 1994. Soil microbial biomass and activity in soils treated with heavy metal contaminated sewage sludge.Soil Biol. Biochem. 26: 1201–1205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fritze, H., Niini, S., Mikkola, K., et al., 1989. Soil microbial effects of a Cu−Zn smelter in southwestern Finland.Soil Biol. Fertils. 8: 87–94.Google Scholar
  15. Hattori, H. 1992. Influence of heavy metals on soil microbial activities.Soil Sci. Plant Nutr. 38: 93–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huang, C. Y., and Khan, K. S., 1998. Effect of cadmium, lead and their interaction on the size of microbial biomass in a red soil.Soil and Environ. 1: 227–236.Google Scholar
  17. Huysman, F. Verstraete, W. and Brookes, P. C. 1994. Effects of manuring practices and increased copper concentrations on soil microbial populations.Soil Biol. Biochem. 26: 103–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jenkinson, D. S., and Powlson, D. S., 1976. The effects of biocidal treatment on metabolism in soil: IV: The decomposition of fumigated organisms in soil.Soil Biol. Biochem. 8: 203–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Khan, K. S., Xie, Z. M. and Huang, C. Y., 1998. Effect of cadmium, lead, and zinc on size of microbial biomass in red soil.Pedosphere. 8: 27–32.Google Scholar
  20. Leita, L., De Nobili, M. Muhlbachova, G., et al., 1995. Bioavailability and effects of heavy metals on soil microbial biomass survival during laboratory incubation.Biol. Fertil. Soils. 19:103–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Maliszewska, W. Dec. S Wierzbicka, H. and Wozniakowska, A., 1985. The influence of various heavy metals compounds on the development and activity of soil micro-organisms.Environmental pollution (series A.).37: 195–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McGrath, S. P., Chaudri, A. M. and Giller, K. E., 1995. Long term effects of metals in sewage sludge on soils, microorganisms and plant.J. Indus. Microbiol. 14: 94–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nragu, J. O., and Pacyna J. M., 1988. Quantitative assessment of worldwide contamination of air, waters, and soils with trace metal.Nature. 333: 134–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Soon, Y. K., and Abboud. S., 1993. Lead, chromium, and nickel.In Soil Sampling and Methods of Analysis. Ed. by Carter, M. R. Lewis, Boca Raton, FL. p. 101–108.Google Scholar
  25. Vance, E. D., Brookes, P. C. and Jenkinson, D. S., 1987. An extraction method for measuring soil microbial biomass. Soil Biol. Biochem.19: 703–707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wu, J., Joergensen, R. G., Pommerening, B. et al., 1990. Measurement of soil microbial biomass by fumigation-extraction: an automated procedure.Soil Biol. Biochem. 20: 1167–1169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Zhejiang University Press 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wa’el Mohamad
    • 1
    • 2
  • Huang Chang-yong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xie Zheng-miao
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Environmental and Resources ScienceHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Huajiachi Campus of Zhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations