African Journal of

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12254

Full Length Research Paper

Spectrophotometric method for quantification of soil microbial biomass carbon

Alessandra Oliveira da Silva
  • Alessandra Oliveira da Silva
  • Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados, MS, Dourados, Brasil.
  • Google Scholar
William Marra Silva
  • William Marra Silva
  • Embrapa Agropecuária Oeste, Dourados, MS, Brasil.
  • Google Scholar
Carlos Hissao Kurihara
  • Carlos Hissao Kurihara
  • Embrapa Agropecuária Oeste, Dourados, MS, Brasil.
  • Google Scholar
Fábio Martins Mercante
  • Fábio Martins Mercante
  • Embrapa Agropecuária Oeste, Dourados, MS, Brasil.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 14 December 2015
  •  Accepted: 02 March 2016
  •  Published: 13 April 2016


The search for more suitable alternatives in analytical processes is a strategy to reduce environmental damages. The present study aimed to quantify the soil microbial biomass carbon (SMB-C), establishing a comparison between the methods involving quantification of SMB-C by titration of the samples with ferrous sulfate ammonia and molecular absorption spectrophotometry methods. This comparison was performed by two soil sample tests: (i) areas of grain crops with conventional management versus no-till farming; and (ii) areas with distinct phytophysiognomies in the region southern Mato Grosso do Sul state (Cerrado and Semideciduous Forest). It was found that molecular absorption spectrophotometry was an efficient tool for the determination of soil microbial biomass carbon, allowing replacement of the titrimetric method. There were significant differences in the levels of SMB-C determined spectrophotometrically in relation to those determined by titration. However, for the levels of SMB-C determined by spectrophotometry to be compared with those determined by titration, the values must be corrected by the linear regression equation Yspectrophotometry = - 151.38 + 0.92532 * Xtitration.

Key words: Potassium dichromate, soil quality, titration.