Enzymes in Relation to Soil Biological Properties and Sustainability

  • Naveen Datt
  • Dhanbir Singh


Deterioration of soil health is of concern for human, animal and plant health, because air, groundwater and surface water consumed by humans are adversely affected by contaminated soil. Soil microorganisms play an important role in the transformation of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), sulphur (S) and iron (Fe). Soil biological properties, e.g. microbial biomass carbon (MBC), microbial biomass nitrogen (MBN), microbial biomass phosphorus (MBP), and activities of soil enzymes, viz. amylase (AMY), dehydrogenase (DHA), cellulase (CA), pectinase (PA), phenoloxidase (POA), urease (UA) and phosphatase (PHA), respond quickly to change in soil quality and have been considered better indicator than soil physical and chemical properties. Soil enzymes play a major role in the energy transfer through decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM) and nutrient cycling and thus have a substantial role in maintaining soil health. Enzymes are the vital activators in life processes of soil microorganisms and the products of which stabilize soil structure. Although microorganisms are the major source of soil enzymes, plants and animals also contribute in a significant manner to the enzyme pool. Their activities are closely related to the biological properties of soil. Hence, soil enzymes are indicators for soil microbial community structure and for the effect of soil treatments or climatic factors on soil health and soil fertility. The possible role of soil enzymes in organic matter (OM) decomposition and soil health maintenance can help in the management of soil fertility in agricultural ecosystems.


Biological properties Soil enzymes Soil health Sustainability 

















Farmyard manure












Microbial biomass carbon


Microbial biomass nitrogen


Microbial biomass phosphorus




Nicotinamide dinucleotide


Nicotinamide dinucleotide phosphate


Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium




Organic matter










Phenol oxidase




Plant-soil microorganisms




Soil organic carbon


Soil organic matter


Specific respiration rate




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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naveen Datt
    • 1
  • Dhanbir Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Soil Science, College of AgricultureCSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi VishvavidyalayaPalampurIndia

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