Effect of organic amendments obtained from different pretreatment technologies on soil microbial community

Yujia Luo* (Corresponding author), Vania Scarlet Chavez-Rico, Valentina Sechi, T. Martijn Bezemer, Cees J.N. Buisman, Annemiek ter Heijne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The application of organic amendments (OAs) obtained from biological treatment technologies is a common agricultural practice to increase soil functionality and fertility. OAs and their respective pretreatment processes have been extensively studied. However, comparing the properties of OAs obtained from different pretreatment processes remains challenging. In most cases, the organic residues used to produce OAs exhibit intrinsic variability and differ in origin and composition. In addition, few studies have focused on comparing OAs from different pretreatment processes in the soil microbiome, and the extent to which OAs affect the soil microbial community remains unclear. This limits the design and implementation of effective pretreatments aimed at reusing organic residues and facilitating sustainable agricultural practices. In this study, we used the same model residues to produce OAs to enable meaningful comparisons among compost, digestate, and ferment. These three OAs contained different microbial communities. Compost had higher bacterial but lower fungal alpha diversity than ferment and digestate. Compost-associated microbes were more prevalent in the soil than ferment- and digestate-associated microbes. More than 80% of the bacterial ASVs and fungal OTUs from the compost were detected 3 months after incorporation into the soil. However, the addition of compost had less influence on the resulting soil microbial biomass and community composition than the addition of ferment or digestate. Specific native soil microbes, members from Chloroflexi, Acidobacteria, and Mortierellomycota, were absent after ferment and digestate application. The addition of OAs increased the soil pH, particularly in the compost-amended soil, whereas the addition of digestate enhanced the concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and available nutrients (such as ammonium and potassium). These physicochemical variables were key factors that influenced soil microbial communities. This study furthers our understanding of the effective recycling of organic resources for the development of sustainable soils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116346
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2023


  • Compost
  • Digestate
  • Ferment
  • Pretreatment technologies
  • Soil amendments
  • Soil microbial community


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