[Seewald2010] "Substrate-induced volatile organic compound emissions from compost-amended soils",
Biology and Fertility of Soils
, vol. 46: Springer-Verlag, pp. 371-382, 2010.
The agronomic effects of composts, mineral fertiliser and combinations thereof on chemical, biological and physiological soil properties have been studied in an 18-year field experiment. The present study aimed at tracing treatment effects by evaluating the volatile organic compound (VOC) emission of the differently treated soils: non-amended control, nitrogen fertilisation and composts (produced from organic waste and sewage sludge, respectively) in combination with nitrogen fertiliser. Microbial community structure was determined by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Aerobic and anaerobic soil VOC emission was determined after glucose amendment using proton transfer reaction–mass spectrometry (PTR-MS). After inducing VOC production by substrate (glucose) addition and at the same time reducing oxygen availability to impair degradation of the produced VOCs, we were able to differentiate among the treatments. Organic waste compost did not alter the VOC emissions compared to the untreated control, whilst sewage sludge composts and mineral fertilisation showed distinct effects. This differentiation was supported by DGGE analysis of fungal 18S rDNA fragments and confirms earlier findings on bacterial communities. Three major conclusions can be drawn: (1) VOC patterns are able to discriminate among soil treatments. (2) Sewage sludge compost and mineral fertilisation have not only the strongest impact on microbial community composition but also on VOC emission patterns, but specific tracer VOCs could not be identified. (3) Future efforts should aim at a PTR-MS-linked identification of the detected masses.