Effect of heavy metals on microbial biomass and activities in century old landfill soil.
ABSTRACT A study was conducted to determine the effect of metals on soil microbial biomass and activities in landfill soils as well as normal background soil. The microbial biomass and activities were consistently higher in the landfill soils than in the background soil. Significant positive correlations existed between the microbial parameters and soil organic carbon. The landfill soils contained higher concentrations of metals (iron, manganese, copper, cadmium, lead and zinc) than did the background soil. Microbial parameters were negatively correlated with the metals, with inhibition increasing with the bioavailability of the metals. It is suggested that the metals affected microbial biomass and activities by behaving synergistically or additively with each other. Although the landfill soils had higher microbial biomass and activities than the background soil, due to higher organic matter content, the ratios of microbial parameters/organic carbon indicated that inhibition of microbial growth and activities had occurred due to metal stress.