Methods to evaluate pesticide damage to the biomass of the soil microflora

J.P.E. Anderson, Richard A. Armstrong, S.N. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Respiratory methods to estimate the amount of C in the soil microbial biomass and the relative contributions of prokaryotes and eukaryotes in the biomass were used to evaluate the influence of pesticides on the soil microflora. Experiments were conducted with 5 and 50 micrograms per gram of three fungicides, captan, thiram and verdesan. At 5 micrograms per gram they caused significant decreases (40%) in the biomass; the organomercury fungicide verdesan also caused a shift from fungal to bacterial dominance. Within 8 days, biomass in captan- and thiram-amended soils had recovered to that of controls. Although the fungal to bacterial balance was restored in verdesan-amended soils, biomass recovery was not complete. At 50 micrograms per gram the fungicides caused long-term decreases in the biomass and altered the relative proportions of the bacterial and fungal populations. Verdesan had the greatest effect on soil microbial biomass and competition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-153
Number of pages5
JournalSoil biology and biochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1981


  • respiratory methods
  • soil microbial biomass
  • procaryotes
  • eucaryotes
  • pesticides
  • soil microflora


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