African Journal of Microbiology Research Vol. 4(22) pp. 2418-2425, 18 November, 2010
Available online http://www.academicjournals.org/ajmr
ISSN 1996-0808 ©2010 Academic Journals
Full Length Research Paper
Effect of cement dust pollution on microbial properties
and enzyme activities in cultivated and no-till soils
University of Ataturk, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Soil Science, 25240, Erzurum-Turkey.
The Ohio State University, School of Environment and Natural Resources, 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster, OH 44691,
United States. E-mail: email@example.com. Tel: +90 442 231 1646. Fax: +90 442 236 0958.
Accepted 12 October, 2010
Cement dust pollution is one of the sources of atmospheric pollution. The main impacts of the cement
activity to the environment are the broadcasts of dusts and gases. The objective of this study is to
determine the effects of cement dust pollution, which was generated by cement plant, on soil microbial
population, microbial respiration, and some enzyme activities in cultivated wheat (CT) and no-till (NT) soils.
The fields are located at distances of 1, 3, 5, 7, 10 and 15 km away from the cement plant. In dominant wind
direction, three replicated 36 soil samples were taken from a depth of 0 to 20 cm and analyzed for chemical,
physical and microbiological properties. Soil microbial population and CO2-C production showed
significant (p < 0.05) positive correlation in CT and NT soils. The highest microbial population and CO2-C
production was observed at 15 km away from the cement plant in CT and NT soils. Acid phosphatase,
urease and dehydrogenase enzyme activities of the soils showed significant (p < 0.01) positive correlation
with distance in CT and NT (r2 = 0.80-0.86; r2 = 0.90 to 0.92; r2 = 0.79 to 0.82, respectively). There was
negative correlation between alkaline phosphatase enzyme activity and distance in CT and NT (r2 = 0.60, r2 =
0.68; p < 0.05).
Key words: Microbial respiration, CO2-C production, microbial population, cement dust pollution, soil enzyme
Air pollutants generated by the cement manufacturing
process consist primarily of alkaline particulates from the
raw and finished materials. The direct effects of cement
dust pollution are the alkalization of the ecosystem and the
changing of the chemical composition of soils (Mandre,
1995). The main impacts of the cement activity on the
environment are the broadcasts of dusts and gases. The
pollutant particles can enter into soil as dry, humid or occult
deposits and can undermine its physicochemical properties
(Laj and Sellegri, 2003). Thus, cement dust pollution has a
negative effect on the physico-chemical properties and the
biological activity of the soil. Soil microbial activity is
important for the nutrient biogeochemical cycling and it is
negatively affected by the cement dust pollution (Ocak et
al., 2004; Nowak et al., 2003). The most commonly used
microbial activity indicators for soil health monitoring are
microbial biomass, soil respiration and soil enzyme activity
(Nielsen and Winding, 2002).
Microorganisms are the main source of enzymes in soils.
It is well known that all biochemical reactions are catalyzed
by enzymes, which are proteins with catalytic properties
owing to their power of specific activation. Soil enzyme
activities are often used as indices of microbial growth and
activity in soils. Enzyme activities play key roles in the
biochemical functioning of soils, including soil organic
matter formation and degradation, nutrient cycling, and
decomposition of xenobiotics (Frankerberger and Dick,
1983; Chen et al., 2003; Acosta-Martínez et al., 2007).
Their activity may correlate well with nutrient availability
and soil fertility (Nannipieri et al., 2003; Baum et al., 2003).
Soil enzymatic activities depend on optimum conditions
of moisture, pH, temperature and substrate concentration.
Soil pH can affect enzyme activity by influencing the
concentration of inhibitors or activators in the soil solution
and the effective concentration of the substrate. Enzymatic
activities may vary under stress when soil is contaminated
by heavy metals (Dick, 1997; Dick et al., 2000). Enzyme
activities have been found to be very responsive to
different agricultural soil conservation practices such as
non-tillage (Bergstrom et al., 1998), organic amendments,
and crop rotation (Miller and Dick, 1995). The difference in
microbial dynamics and population, due to soil
management practices, may also be reflected in the
differences in enzyme activities of soils. Although it has
been demonstrated that adoption of long-term cropping
system may affect several soil properties, limited
information is available about the effect of tillage on
enzyme activities of soils. Tillage and management
practices may lead to significant changes in biological,
chemical and biochemical properties of soils and alter the
composition, distribution, and activities of soil microbial
community and enzymes (Dick, 1984; Dick et al., 1988).
Acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase, arylsulfatase,
invertase, amidase, and urease activity in 0 to 7.5 cm
surface soils were significantly greater in soils from no-till
plots, as compared with those from conventional tillage
plots (Dick, 1984).
Phosphatase enzymes can be a good indicator of the
organic phosphorus mineralization potential and biological
activity of soils (Dick and Tabatabai, 1993). Phosphatase
activity, which is related to soil and vegetation conditions,
responds to changes in management (Herbien and Neal,
1990), and can be related to seasonal changes in soil
temperature and moisture (Speir and Cowling, 1991). The
phosphatases are significantly affected by soil pH, which
controls phosphorus availability in soil, and this could occur
despite the level of organic matter content or disturbance
(Acosta-Martínez et al., 2007). Studies showed that acid
phosphatase is predominant in acidic soils but alkaline
phosphatase is predominant in alkaline soils (Deng and
Tabatabai, 1997). The inverse relationship between
phosphatase activity and soil pH suggests that the rate of
synthesis and release of this enzyme by soil
microorganisms or the stability of this enzyme are related
to soil pH. Since higher plants are devoid of alkaline
phosphatase activity, the alkaline phosphatase activity in
soils seems derived totally from microorganisms (Dick et
Urease is a ubiquitous cell-free exoenzyme in nature that
is produced by plants and microorganisms. Urea is the
most widely used nitrogenous fertilizer in world agriculture
today. It is hydrolyzed enzymatically by soil urease and the
resulting release of ammonia and rise in pH can lead to
some problems. These problems are accentuated in alkali
soils where the high soil pH can induce appreciable
ammonia volatilization (Brynes and Frency, 1995). Alkali
soils have low amounts of organic carbon and nitrogen and
low levels of urease and dehyrogenase activity (Rao and
Dehydrogenase activity is commonly used as an
indicator of biological activity in soil (Beyer et al., 1992).
Dehydrogenase enzymes play a significant role in the
biological oxidation of soil organic matter by transferring
protons and electrons from substrates to acceptors (Dick
and Tabatabai, 1993). According to Frankenberger and
Dick (1983), dehydrogenase activity is often correlated with
microbial respiration when exogenous C sources are
added to soil. Skujins (1973) and Casida (1977) reported
close correlations of dehydrogenase activity with CO2
release and O2 uptake, respectively. The highest activity
occurred in top 3 cm of an arid soil, but there was no
correlation with microbial number because the
dehydrogenase activity depends on the total metabolic
activity and soil microorganisms. The value of metabolic
activity and soil microorganisms in different soils,
containing different populations, does not always reflect the
total numbers of viable microorganisms that are isolated on
a particular medium.
In this study, we aimed to detect possible impacts of
cement dust pollution, which are generated by cement
factory, on microbial population (bacteria and fungi),
microbial respiration (CO2-C production) and some enzyme
(acid, alkaline phosphatase, urease and dehydrogenase)
activities in cultivated with wheat and no-till soils.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Experimental site, soil sampling and soil analysis
The study was conducted in the vicinity of Askale town cement plant
(39°54’ N and 41013’ E at 1883 m above mean sea level), west of the
Erzurum, Turkey. Based on area distribution within a soil-mapping
unit, the sampling sites at 1, 3, 5, 7, 10 and 15 km away from the
Askale cement plant were randomly selected in cultivated (CT) vs.
no-till (NT) soils. The chimney height of the Askale cement plant was
50 m. The composition of emissions for cement plant were particle
matter (48 kg h-1), CO (146 kg h-1), NO2 (186 kg h-1) and SO2 (6 kg h-
1). The dominant wind direction is north-west, and soil sampling was
coincided with the same wind direction. The minimum and maximum
temperatures were 11.4 and 26.5°C respectively, and average annual
temperature was 15.4°C. The mean relative humidity, wind speed,
daily sunshine, total precipitation, and total evaporation were in order
57.42%, 4.71 m s–1, 11.12 h, 61.4 mm, and 389.4 mm in 2008 (1 May
to 29 Sept.). Three replicated sub-plots were selected within each
site. Total 36 sampling sites (6 distance x 2 tillage x 3 replications)
were selected for soil collection. The soil was classified as Askale
series (ustorthents) according to the USDA soil taxonomy (Soil
Survey Staff, 1999). The experiment area soil texture classes were
determined loam to clay. The site has a semiarid climate and average
annual rainfall of 427 mm. The major crops grown in this area are
wheat, barley, secale, maize, cabbage, cotton, sugar beat, and
In this research, soil samples were taken from 0 to 20 cm depth
(tillage layer) in September 2008. The samples were composited and
2-mm sieved to remove stones, roots, and large organic residues and
analyzed. Total organic matter (SOM) content was determined by
following the standard loss-on-ignition (LOI) method (Nelson and
Sommers, 1996). The CaCO3 content was determined by using the
pressure calcimeter method (Leoppert and Suarez, 1996). Total N
content of soil was measured by the micro-Kjeldahl method (Bremner,
1996). Soil pH was determined by using a glass electrode meter in
1:2.5 soil: water ratio (Handershot et al., 1993). Effective cation
exchange capacity was calculated as the sum of exchangeable
cations (Sumner and Miller, 1996). Melich I solution was used to
extract exchangeable cations and determined by atomic absorption
spectrophotometer (Hanlon and DeVore, 1989). The available P in
soil was determined by following ammonium molybdate-ascorbic acid
2420 Afr. J. Microbiol. Res.
method (Knudsen and Beegle, 1988). Microelements in the soils were
determined by DTPA extraction method (Lindsay and Norvell, 1978).
Soil particle size distribution was determined by the hydrometer
method (Gee and Bauder, 1986). Soil textural class was determined
by following the USDA textural triangle. Electrical conductivity was
measured in saturation extracts according to Rhoades (1996). The
soils were analyzed for selected physical and chemical properties
Soil biological analysis
Culturable bacteria and fungi cells were enumerated by using spread
soil dilution plate method. For bacteria and fungi, each dilution of the
series (106–107) in PBS (0.15 M potassium phosphate 0.85% NaCl,
pH 7.2) was prepared and placed onto Petri-dishes (Zuberer, 1994).
Soil extract agar (SEA) was used for bacterial incubation at 30ºC for
7-d (Zuberer, 1994), dextrose-peptone agar (DPA) was used for
fungal incubation at 25oC for 7-d (Parkinson, 1994). After the
incubation, the average colony forming units (CFU) per gram of oven-
dried equivalent (ODE) of field-moist soil was calculated by using an
automated colony counter (Madigon et al., 2006) (Table 2).
Basal respiration (BR), as a measure of soil biological activity, was
determined by using in vitro static incubation of unamended field-
moist soil (Islam and Weil, 2000). About 20 g ODE of field-moist soil
adjusted at 70% water-filled porosity (WFP) was taken in 25 ml glass
beakers. Each soil sample was placed in a 1 L mason jar along with a
glass vial containing 10 mL of distilled deionized water to maintain
humidity and a plastic vial containing 10 mL of 0.5 M NaOH to trap
CO2 evolved from the incubated soil. The mason jars were sealed
airtight and incubated in the dark at 25 ± 1°C for 20 days. The CO2
evolved over time was absorbed in the 0.5 M NaOH followed by
precipitation as BaCO3 by the addition of excess 1M BaCl2. The
remaining NaOH in each vial was then titrated to the phenolphthalein
endpoint with a standardized 0.5 M HCl solution (Table 2). The BR
rate was calculated as below:
BR rates (mg CO2/kg soil) = (CO2soil - CO2air)/20 days
Urease enzyme (UE) activity was assayed by using urea solution and
expressed as µg NH4-N per g soil and incubation time (2 h). Acid
phosphatase (AcdP) and alkaline phosphatase (Alk-P) activities were
assayed by using substrate pNPP (para-nitrophenyl phosphate) and
expressed as l µg pNPP per gram soil and incubation time (hours).
Dehydrogenase enzyme (DHE) activity was determined with TTC
(triphenyl tetrazolium chloride) and expressed as µg TPF per gram
soil and incubation time (24 h) according to Tabatabai (1994) (Figure
1a,b, 2, 3).
Statistical analysis was done for soil microorganism population and
CO2-C production using repeated measures analysis of variance
(ANOVA). Comparison of means was performed, when the F-test for
treatment was significant at the 5% level, using Duncan’s multiple
means tests. In addition, we tested effects of cement dust pollution on
soil enzyme activities by calculating regression equation and simple
linear correlation coefficient (r) procedures. SPSS 17.0 package was
used for all statistical tests.
Some chemical and physical properties of the studied soils
are given in Table 1. According to Table 1, most soils had
an alkaline reaction between pH 7.40 to 9.24. Soil pH
y = 0.65x + 29.39
y = -1.54x + 83.20
0 5 10 15 20
Phosphatase, ug pNP g
Acid Phosphatase Alkaline Phosphatase
Figure 1a. Acid phosphatase enzyme activities vs. polluted distance
by cement dust in CT soils.
y = -1.27x + 66.08
y = 0.93x + 23.33
0 5 10 15 20
Phospahatse, ug pNP g -1 soil h-1
Acid Phosphatase Alkaline Phosphatase
Figure 1b. Alkaline phosphatase enzyme activities vs. polluted
distance by cement dust in NT soils.
values at a distance of 1 km were 8.83 in CT and 8.52 in
NT and at distance of 15 km 7.40 in CT and NT soils.
Increasing distance from cement plant decreased soil pH in
CT and NT soils. The soils did not exhibit any salinity
y = 0.55x + 13.31
y = 0.50x + 15.57
0 5 10 15 20
Urease Activity, ug NH
soil 2 h
Figure 2. Urease enzyme activities vs. polluted distance by cement
dust in CT and NT soils.
y = 7.16x + 24.00
y = 9.38x + 55.59
0 5 10 15
Dehydrogenas e Activity, ug TPF g
soil 24 h
Figure 3. Dehydrogenase enzyme activities vs. polluted distance by
cement dust in CT and NT soils.
problem but there was enough lime (3.42 to 5.63%)
present in the soil to be classified calcareous soils.
Contents of organic matter of the soils were determined
between 1.45 to 2.86% (low-middle), total nitrogen
between 0.1 to 0.29% and contained sufficient N, available
phosphorus between 11.50 to 18.70 mg kg-1 (low) (FAO,
1990), and cation exchangeable capacity between 30.34 to
38.42 cmol kg-1 .
Effects of spatial variation on microbial population and
The quantitative analysis of bacteria, fungi, and soil CO2-C
production in CT and NT soils are given in Table 2.
According to the results of ANOVA, significant (p < 0.05)
differences on average number of bacteria and fungi were
observed among different distances from the cement
factory in CT and NT soils.
The highest number of bacteria were observed at
distance of 15 km (387.2 x 106 CFU g-1 soil) from the
cement plant in CT and the lowest were observed at
distance of 1 km (296.3x106 CFU g-1 soil) from the cement
plant in CT. The highest number of bacteria were obtained
at a distance of 15 km (370.6 x 106 CFU g-1 soil) in NT and
the lowest were obtained at distance of 1 km (215.7 x 106
CFU g-1 soil) from the cement plant in NT soils. Average
numbers of bacteria were higher in CT (332.5x106 CFU g-1
soil) soils than in NT (282.8 x 106 CFU g-1 soil) soils. Soil
microbial population showed a significantly positive
correlation with distance in CT and NT (r2 = 0.53; r2= 0.56,
p < 0.05) soils.
Significant (p < 0.05) differences in average number of
fungi were observed among different distances from the
cement factory in CT and NT soils. The highest number of
fungi was obtained at distance of 7 km and the lowest was
obtained at a distance of 1 km from the cement plant in CT
(37.2 x 104; 21.6 x 104 CFU g-1 soil) and NT (71.4 x 104;
42.6 x 104 CFU g-1 soil) soil. Average number of fungi was
determined 58.1 x 104 CFU g-1 soil in NT and 29.7 x 104
CFU g-1 soil in CT soils. Number of fungi showed
significant positive correlation with distance in CT (r2 =
0.58; p < 0.05) and NT (r2= 0.74, p < 0.05) soils (Table 2).
According to Table 2, statistical results showed a
significant (p < 0.05) differences between distance and
average CO2-C production depending on distance from the
cement factory. Increasing distance increased CO2-C
production in CT and NT soils. The highest CO2-C
production was observed at distance of 15 km from cement
factory in CT (31.5 mg CO2-C m2 h-1) and NT (21.8 mg
CO2-C m2 h-1) soils. The lowest CO2-C production was
observed at distance of 1 km from cement factory in CT
(21.6 mg CO2-C m2 h-1) and NT (16.0 mg CO2-C m2 h-1)
soils. The average CO2-C production was determined 27.2
mg CO2-C m2 h1 soil in CT, and 19.3 mg CO2-C m2 h-1 soil
in NT soils. Average soil CO2-C production showed
significant positive correlation with distance in CT and NT
(r2= 0.94, p < 0.01) soils.
2422 Afr. J. Microbiol. Res.
Table 1. Some chemical and physical properties of CT and NT soils.
Polluted distance by cement dust
Soil properties 1 km 3 km 5 km 7 km 10 km 15 km
CT NT CT NT CT NT CT NT CT NT CT NT
pH (1:2.5) (soil/water) 8.83 8.52 9.24 8.71 8.54 8.21 8.24 7.85 7.82 8.12 7.40 7.40
Organic matter, % 1.96 1.62 2.04 2.21 2.00 2.26 2.42 2.86 2.01 1.45 2.54 2.32
. % 5.49 3.70 3.83 4.20 4.66 5.26 5.63 4.21 4.38 3.75 4.63 3.42
Total N, % 0.15 0.10 0.19 0.14 0.25 0.21 0.26 0.17 0.29 0.21 0.19 0.25
Available P, mg kg-1 soil 14.23 10.20 18.70 14.20 16.47 18.00 16.47 13.40 17.21 13.70 15.30 11.50
cmol kg-1 soil
Ca+2 23.11 25.46 20.18 24.53 21.65 23.45 21.65 18.46 21.16 21.45 17.56 18.63
Mg+2 9.70 7.87 8.48 9.56 9.09 8.23 9.09 6.85 8.89 7.23 6.05 7.26
K+1 3.17 4.12 2.76 3.74 2.97 1.86 2.97 2.76 2.90 3.25 3.56 4.85
Na+1 0.38 0.26 0.31 0.28 0.35 0.21 0.35 0.18 0.33 0.48 0.31 0.29
Micro Elements, ppm
Fe 24.11 25.45 20.54 23.05 21.37 25.93 23.17 17.95 23.30 24.15 21.85 22.83
Cu 2.56 3.66 2.57 3.60 2.63 3.21 3.48 2.89 4.46 4.99 4.59 3.01
Zn 2.85 2.19 1.60 1.91 1.23 2.17 2.30 1.06 2.93 2.30 2.82 2.76
Mn 8.29 9.63 11.19 9.03 13.14 9.15 6.58 11.17 11.16 10.87 13.30 13.83
CEC, cmol kg-1soil 36.29 38.24 35.77 38.42 36.03 34.59 36.03 30.65 35.94 33.25 30.34 33.24
Texture, % Clay 32.45 36.18 33.20 36.20 28.75 34.33 28.35 33.97 27.33 33.69 33.99 34.55
Silt 20.25 30.56 25.46 29.50 31.12 28.56 32.00 27.93 28.56 31.05 26.07 21.24
Sand 47.30 33.26 41.34 34.30 40.13 37.12 39.65 38.10 44.11 35.26 39.94 44.21
Texture class L CL CL L CL CL L CL CL CL L L
CT : Cultivated wheat, NT : No-Till soil, L : Loam, CL : Clay loam.
Table 2. Effects of cement dust pollution on population of bacteria and fungi, CO2-C production, Duncan test results and
correlation coefficient values (r).
Distance (km) Bacteria x10
(mg C m-2 h-1)
CT NT CT NT CT NT
1 296.3 b 215.7 b 21.6 b 42.6 b 21.6 b 16.0 b
3 315.7 ab 281.5 ab 25.4 b 58.7 ab 24.6 ab 18.4 ab
5 362.5 a 243.0 b 29.8 b 42.2 b 25.6 ab 18.6 ab
7 337.6 ab 343.2 a 37.2 a 71.4 a 29.7 a 20.2 a
10 297.6 b 243.5 b 37.1 a 65.5 a 30.3 a 21.1 a
15 387.2 a 370.6 a 27.0 b 68.4 a 31.5 a 21.8 a
Average 332.5 A 282.8 B 29.7 B 58.1 A 27.2 A 19.3 B
r-values 0.53* 0.56* 0.58* 0.74* 0.94** 0.94**
CT: Cultivated wheat , NT: No-Till Soil, † The means with the same letter are not statistically significant (p < 0.05). *, ** : Indicate
significance at the 5 and 1%, respectively.
Effects of spatial variation on some soil enzyme
We also monitored the activities of four enzyme groups:
AcdP, AlkP, urease (UE) and dehydrogenase (DHE) at
different distance from the cement plant in CT and NT
soils. According to our results, phosphatase enzyme
activities varied widely in relation to distance CT and NT
soils. The highest AcdP enzyme activity was observed at
distance of 15 km (37.6 µg pNP g-1 soil h-1) in CT and the
lowest AcdP enzyme activity was observed at distance of 1
km (29.0 µg pNP g-1 soil h-1) away from the cement factory
in CT soils. Similarly, the highest AcdP enzyme activity
was obtained at distance of 15 km (35.3 µg pNP g-1 soil h-1)
in NT soils and the lowest AcdP enzyme activity was
obtained at distance of 1 km (23.0 µg pNP g-1 soil h-1) away
from the cement factory in NT soils. AcdP enzyme activity
showed a significant positive correlation with distance in
CT (r2 = 0.80, p < 0.01) and NT (r2 = 0.86, p < 0.01) soils
(Figure 1a and b).
The highest AlkP enzyme activity was observed at
distance of 2 km (84.60 µg pNP g-1 soil h-1), and the lowest
AlkP enzyme activity was observed at distance of 15 km
(58.40 µg pNP g-1 soil h-1) away from the cement factory in
CT soils. The highest AlkP enzyme activity was observed
at distance of 1 km (68.10 µg pNP g-1 soil h-1) and the
lowest AlkP enzyme activity was observed at distance of
10 km away from the cement factory (47.50 µg pNP g-1 soil
h-1) in NT soils. The results in this particular case showed a
significant negative correlation between cement dust
pollution and distance in CT (r2 = 0.60, p < 0.05) and NT (r2
= 0.68, p < 0.05) soils. AcdP enzyme activity was
significantly lower than AlkP enzyme activity in CT and NT
soils (Figure 1a and b).
Urease enzyme activity was highly correlated with the
distance of CT and NT soils. The regression equations and
simple correlation coefficients for these relationships are
shown in Fig. 2. The highest UE activity was observed at
distance of 15 km (24.08 mg NH4-N kg-1 soil 2h-1) and the
lowest was observed at distance of 1 km (16.25 mg NH4-N
kg-1 soil 2h-1) away from the cement factory in CT soils.
The highest UE activity was observed at distance of 15 km
(21.24 mg NH4-N kg-1 soil 2 h-1) and the lowest was
observed at distance of 1 km (12.20 mg NH4-N kg-1 soil 2 h-
1) away from the cement factory in NT soils. UE activity
showed a significant positive correlation with distances in
CT (r2= 0.90, p < 0.01) and NT (r2= 0.79; p < 0.01) soils.
Maximum variation based on distance from the cement
factory was observed for dehydrogenase activity in various
soils. The highest DHE activity was determined at 15 km
distance (180 mg TPF kg-1 soil 24 h-1) and the lowest was
determined at 1 km distance (51.16 mg TPF kg-1 soil 24 h-
1) away from the cement factory in CT soils. The highest
DHE activity was observed at distance of 15 km (150 mg
TPF kg-1 soil 24 h-1) and the lowest was obtained at a 1 km
distance (37.88 mg TPF kg-1 soil 24 h-1) from the cement
factory in NT soils. Strong positive correlation among DHE
enzyme activity and distances was observed in CT (r2 =
0.92, p < 0.01) and NT (r2 = 0.82, p < 0.01) soils (Figure 3).
Our findings that soils under cement dust have lower
enzyme activity, compared to the CT and NT soils, are due
to the negative impacts of the cement dust on soil
properties including the microbial populations and
activities. The effects of cement dust on soil microbial
population and CO2-C fluxes were significantly correlated
with distance in CT and NT soils. Increasing distance
increased the average number of bacteria, fungi and soil
CO2-C production and decreased lime contents of the soil
in CT and NT soils (Table 1 and 2). The increases in
amount of lime were related to the increase of soil pH.
Microorganism activity was affected negatively by
cement pollution and the other environmental conditions
resulting from cement pollution; it most likely would have
negative effects on the other ecosystem functions (Bayhan
et al. 2002; Nowak et al. 2003; Fabbri et al. 2004; Ocak et
The pH affected the activity of enzymes as amino acid
functional groups that alter conformational and chemical
changes of amino acids essential for binding and catalysis
were very sensitive to pH range (Dick et al., 2000).
Phosphomonoesterases such as AcdP and AlkP
significantly were affected by changes in soil pH (Table 1
and Figure 1) and each enzyme was observed more
predominant in acidic and alkaline soils, respectively (Deng
and Tabatabai, 1997). Changing soil pH is connected with
content of cement dust of the soil. Cement dust pollution
effected soil pH directly, and affected soil acid
phosphatase enzyme activity in directly. AcdP responded
negatively to the soil acidity and the tested enzymes were
ordered according to their susceptibility of soil acidity as
phosphatase>acid phosphatase (Wyszkowska et al.,
The highest urease activity was observed around pH =
7.4 and the lowest urease activity was at pH = 8.8 (Table
2). Optimum pH for soil UE activity was 8.8 to 9.0
(Tabatabai and Bremner, 1972; May and Douglas, 1976).
However, Singh and Nye (1984) reported that soil pH for
UE activity was around 6 for the overall reaction and 6.8 for
the high affinity reaction. Alkaline soils have low amounts
of organic carbon and nitrogen and low levels of urease
and dehydrogenase enzyme activity. Urease enzyme
activity was significantly correlated not only with organic
carbon and CaCO3, but also with pH (Rao and Ghai, 1985).
Urease turned out to be more resistant to soil acidity than
dehydrogenases (Wyszkowska et al., 2006). Phosphatase
and urease enzyme activities were greater in CT soils than
NT soils (Gupta and Bhardwaj, 1990). Especially, urease
activity was much lower in NT soils than in CT soils. When
compared to the corresponding undisturbed or less-
disturbed soils, our results are in agreement with previous
studies showing enzyme activity values reported by
Acosta-Martinez et al. (2004) and Fenn et al. (1992).
Dehydrogenase enzyme activity showed a positive
correlation with decreasing cement dust, CaCO3, and pH in
CT and NT soils (Figure 3, Table 1). The maximum
dehydrogenase enzyme activity was observed at pH 7.4
under wheat vegetation. Similar results were observed in
pH 6.6-7.2 during barley vegetation under different air-
water conditions (Brzezinska et al., 2001). We determined
positive correlation between dehydrogenase enzyme
activity and pH. Similarly, Moore and Russell (1972) and
Onet et al. (2007) observed that there was strong
correlation between dehydrogenase enzyme activity and
2424 Afr. J. Microbiol. Res.
organic matter (Khan, 1999) and weakly positive with pH
and nitrogen. Dehydrogenase enzyme activity in CT (Ph
7.4-8.52) soils was greater than NT (pH 7.4 to 9.24) soils.
Dehydrogenase enzyme activity decreased significantly
with the decline in soil pH values in acidic soils. These
results are in agreement with that reported by Rao and
Ghai (1985) and Aoyama and Nagumo (1996).
Acosta-Martínez V, Cruz L, Sotomayor-Ramírez D, Pérez-Alegría L
(2007). Enzyme activities as affected by soil properties and land use in
a tropical watershed. Appl. Soil Ecol., 35: 35-45.
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