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Carbon and Nitrogen cycling in soil

Micro-organisms drive the cycling and transformation of elements including carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in soil. These processes are vital to the maintenance of soil fertility and productivity but can contribute to environmental pollution through the production of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and nitrous oxides and the leaching of nitrate to water courses. Research is aimed at understanding soil biogeochemical cycling processes in order to be able to manage and predict microbial functioning to meet the major challenges faced by human society such as the maintenance of food supply, the reduction of environmental pollution and the mitigation of climate change.

A major research focus is understanding the effect of land use change on soil quality, particularly C cycling. Using a variety of field sites we are studying how change between arable cropping and other land uses, such as set-aside and short rotation coppice affects the quality and quantity of soil organic matter, and the diversity and distribution of key microbial groups.

Dr David Bass, Natural History Museum, London
Dr Chris van der Gast, CEH Wallingford

Ahmad, M., Taylor, C.R., Pink, D., Burton, K., Eastwood, D., Bending, G.D., Bugg, T.M.H. (2010) Development of novel assays for lignin degradation:analysis of bacterial and fungal lignin degraders. Molecular Biosystems 6, 815-821.

Rahn, C.R., Bending, G.D., Lillywhite, R.D., Turner, M.K. (2009) Co-incorporation of biodegradable wastes with crop residues to reduce nitrate pollution of groundwater and decrease waste streams to landfill. Soil Use and Management 25, 113-123.

Thakuria, D., Talukdar, N.C., Goswami, C., Hazarika, S., Kalita, M.C., Bending, G.D. (2009) Evaluation of rice–legume–rice cropping system on grain yield, nutrient uptake, nitrogen fixation, and chemical, physical, and biological properties of soil. Biology and Fertility of Soils 45, 237-251.

Bending, G.D., Turner, M.K. (2009) Incorporation of nitrogen from crop residues into light fraction organic matter in soils with contrasting management histories. Biology and Fertility of Soils 45, 281-287

Cadisch, G., Espana, M., Causey, R., Richter, M., Shaw, E, Morgan, J.A.W., Rahn, C.R., Bending, G.D. (2005) Technical considerations for the use of 15N-DNA stable isotope probing for functional microbial activity in soils. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectroscopy 19, 1424-1428.

Rahn, C.R., Bending, G.D., Turner, M.K., & Lillywhite, R.L. (2003) Management of N release from high N content crop residues using amendment materials of varying quality. Soil Use and Management 19, 193-200.

Bending, G.D., Turner, M.K. & Jones, J.E. (2002) Interactions between crop residue and soil organic matter quality and the functional diversity of soil microbial communities. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 34, 1073-1082.

Bending, G.D. & Lincoln S.D. (2000) Inhibition of soil nitrifying bacteria communities and their activities by glucosinolate hydrolysis products. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 32, 1261-1269.

Bending, G.D., Putland, C. & Rayns, F. (2000) Changes in microbial community metabolism and labile organic matter fractions as early indicators of the impact of management on soil biological quality. Biology and Fertility of Soils 31, 78-84.

Bending, G.D. & Turner, M.K (1999). Interaction of biochemical quality and particle size of crop residues and its effect on the microbial biomass and nitrogen dynamics following incorporation into soil. Biology and Fertility of Soils 29, 328-331.

Bending, G.D., Turner, M.K. & Burns, I.G. (1998) Mineralization and fate of nitrogen from crop residues as affected by biochemical quality and the microbial biomass. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 30, 2055-2066.


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