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This chapter presents some of the more prevalent methods used in soil microbiology. It is divided into three primary sections: one focuses on methods that assess microbial activity, including respiration, nutrient cycling, and selected metabolic enzyme assays; one introduces methodologies used for assessing microbial biomass; and one presents several prevalent methods used for determining microbial community structure in soil microcosms. Soil disinfestation methods, including soil solarization, can cause significant and sometimes drastic changes in soil microbial activities, including antagonistic effects toward plant pathogens. However, soil disinfestation not only alleviates soil of pathogens but also may reduce the abundance and diversity of a wide spectrum of nonpathogenic soil organisms, depending on the intensity and type of treatment. Thus, proper assessment of soil microbial dynamics—before, during, and after soil disinfestation—can provide tools to better understand the ts of pathogen control by disinfestation and avoid negative side effects.

Chapter 2

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Approaches to Assess Microbial Activities in Soil
Approaches to Assess Microbial Activities in Soil

This chapter presents some of the more prevalent methods used in soil microbiology. It is divided into three primary sections: one focuses on methods that assess microbial activity, including respiration, nutrient cycling, and selected metabolic enzyme assays; one introduces methodologies used for assessing microbial biomass; and one presents several prevalent methods used for determining microbial community structure in soil microcosms. Soil disinfestation methods, including soil solarization, can cause significant and sometimes drastic changes in soil microbial activities, including antagonistic effects toward plant pathogens. However, soil disinfestation not only alleviates soil of pathogens but also may reduce the abundance and diversity of a wide spectrum of nonpathogenic soil organisms, depending on the intensity and type of treatment. Thus, proper assessment of soil microbial dynamics—before, during, and after soil disinfestation—can provide tools to better understand the ts of pathogen control by disinfestation and avoid negative side effects.

Chapter 2

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