African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6730

Full Length Research Paper

Identification of soil quality indicators for maguey mezcalero (Agave angustifolia Haw.) plantations in Southern Mexico

Angélica Bautista-Cruz1*, Fernando De León-González2, Rogelio Carrillo-González3 and Celerino Robles1
1Instituto Politécnico Nacional, CIIDIR-Oaxaca, Hornos 1003, Xoxocotlan, Oaxaca, Mexico, 71230, Mexico. 2Departamento de Producción Agrícola y Animal, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco, Calzada del Hueso 1100, Col. Villa Quietud, Mexico D. F., Mexico, 04960, Mexico. 3Colegio de Postgraduados, Edafologia, Campus Montecillo, Carretera Mexico-Texcoco km 36.5. Texcoco, Mexico, 56230, Mexico.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 24 August 2011
  •  Published: 26 September 2011


Maguey mezcalero (Agave angustifolia Haw.) is an industrial crop grown in the highlands of Oaxaca State (Southern Mexico), a semi-arid area. A previous study focusing on soil properties provided a reference for the selection of the soil quality indicators in this study. The objective of this work was to identify the appropriate soil parameters for soil quality assessment in cultivated A. angustifolia plantations using three tillage systems: disk ploughing (DP), animal-drawn ploughing (ADP) and minimum tillage (MT). Each tillage system was associated with a specific topographic condition (valley, hill and mountain, respectively). Principal component analysis identified soil organic carbon, pH, soil microbial biomass carbon, and exchangeable Mg2+ as potential indicators for a minimum data set for soil quality assessment in A. angustifolia plantations. Soil organic carbon was the most sensitive indicator for separating the sites and their associated tillage systems.


Key words: Agave angustifolia, semi-arid soils, soil organic carbon.