Main content area

Examination of residual chloroform interference in the measurement of microbial biomass C by fumigation-extraction

Rotbart, Nativ, Borisover, Mikhail, Bukhanovsky, Nadezhda, Nasonova, Alla, Bar-Tal, Asher, Oren, Adi
Soil biology & biochemistry 2017 v.111 pp. 60-65
agricultural soils, chloroform, clay, fumigants, fumigation, microbial biomass, organic matter, soil microorganisms, soil water, sorption
Using the chloroform fumigation-extraction (CFE) method for determining microbial biomass in soils, a presumption is followed, i.e., that chloroform becomes fully evacuated from the fumigated soil before extraction. Otherwise, the C-containing fumigant may comprise an unknown part of the extractable C flush, resulting in certain overestimation of soil microbial biomass. A quantitative assessment of extractable residual chloroform levels in fumigated soils was performed, testing soils varying in clay and organic matter contents. The tests were performed over a broad range of soil moisture conditions as to facilitate a mechanistic interpretation of possible chloroform interactions in the studied soils (i.e., dissolution, sorption). The results support the validity of the CFE method's application in agricultural soils, demonstrating the insignificance of biomass overestimation arising from residual chloroform.