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Soil Enzyme Activity

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This paper aimed at measuring the amount of active enzyme in the soil samples by applying chromogenic substrate assay. Using soil samples with organic fertilizer, inorganic fertilizer, combined and unammended, alkaline phasphatase activity was tested under control of temperature, pH, ionic index and substrate concentration. Results show that combined fertilizer had the highest enzyme activity of 1.493 followed by organic fertilizer (1.148), inorganic fertilizer (0.529) and unammended (0.459) soil sample in that order. Combination of inorganic fertilizer and organic fertilizer provides efficient environment for the growth of soil bacteria hence production of more alkaline phosphatase enzymes thus resulting into high enzyme activity.

These findings shows how an integrated fertilizer regime play an important role in altering the structure of the soil microbial composition, stimulates microbial growth and increases enzyme activity as compared to the inorganic fertilizer. Introduction Microorganisms play a vital role in biochemical transformation important for nutrient cycling in soils. The microorganisms in the soil are capable of breaking down insoluble nutrient sources in the soil and in the process produce extracellular enzymes. Extracellular enzymes are biochemical catalysts, protein compounds produced within the bacterial cell and exported out into the soil solution.

While outside the cells, enzymes catalyze reactions that break down the structure of nutrient source in order to make it more accessible to the plants. The quantities of extracellular enzymes are therefore dependent on substrate concentration, soil microorganisms’ metabolic ability, soil environmental conditions such as temperature and pH and the number of microorganisms present in the soil (Lichtfouse, 228). Alkaline Phosphatase is an example of extracellular enzyme produced by many soil microorganisms and exported out into the soil solution.

The main function is to eliminate the phosphate molecule from the organic compounds such as nucleic acids and phospholipids. This makes phosphate soluble hence can be easily absorbed by the cells. This is very important because phosphate is often the limiting nutrient for microbial growth in the soil. Measurements of soil enzyme activities are therefore useful indicators of soil biological activity. Many studies have also referred to soil enzyme activity as an index for soil health and quality of land (Verchot and Borelli, 629). Enzyme activity has also been used in studies that investigate the impact of human activities on the biochemical cycles in ecosystem.

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