Linuron effects on microbiological characteristics of sandy soils as determined in a pot study
Application of pesticide in agricultural fields is "unnecessary evil" for non-target microflora and fauna. Hence, to identify the safer pesticide molecules against non-target microbes, a long-term pesticide experiment was initiated at National Rice Research Institute, Cuttack, India. In the present study, the effect of continuous application of chlorpyrifos (0.5kgha-1) in rice fields on non-target groups of soil microbes and nematodes was studied for seven seasons (four wet and three dry seasons) during 2009-2013. Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with four replications of chlorpyrifos-treated (0.5kg a.i. ha-1) (CT) and untreated control (UT) plots. During seven seasons of experimentation, regular application of chlorpyrifos had no significant effect on population of heterotrophic aerobic, anaerobic, oligotrophic and copiotrophic bacteria in CT compared to UT, whereas, population of asymbiotic aerobic nitrogen fixer, nitrifiers, denitrifiers, gram positive and spore-forming bacteria were significantly reduced by nearly 0.25-2 fold in CT than UT. However, comparatively less deviation in population of actinomycetes, fungi, phosphate solubilizing and sulfur oxidizing bacteria were observed in CT than UT. Significant interactions were found between effects of chlorpyrifos with time in population dynamics of microbes. In plant parasitic nematode species, Meloidogyne graminicola (RRKN) and Hirschmanniella spp. (RRN), were significantly lower (p<0.01) in CT compared to UT after first year onwards. The overall observation of five years data indicated that the RRKN population showed a decreasing trend (R2=0.644) whereas RRN showed increasing trend (R2=0.932) in CT. The drastic chlorpyrifos dissipation was noticed after 15 days of application from the initial residue of 0.25mgkg-1 soil, which indicated that chlorpyrifos residue in rice field soil was not persistent and its half-life was found to be 4.02 days. Overall, the present findings revealed that non-target effect of repetitive application of chloropyrifos (0.5kgha-1) on soil microbes and nematodes was found less under rice-rice cropping system.