International Journal of
Biodiversity and Conservation

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Biodivers. Conserv.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-243X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJBC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 669

Full Length Research Paper

Responses of soil microbial biomass carbon to tillage and fertilizer types in maize cultivation in Buea, Cameroon

Amenchwi Amahnui George
  • Amenchwi Amahnui George
  • Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, University of Buea, P. O. Box 63, Buea, Cameroon.
  • Google Scholar
Manga Veronica Ebot
  • Manga Veronica Ebot
  • Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, University of Buea, P. O. Box 63, Buea, Cameroon.
  • Google Scholar
Tening Aaron Suh
  • Tening Aaron Suh
  • Department of Agronomic and Applied Molecular Sciences, University of Buea, P. O. Box 63, Buea, Southwest Region of Cameroon.
  • Google Scholar
Nikièma Paligwendé
  • Nikièma Paligwendé
  • Department of Education, Government of Manitoba, Canada.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 30 October 2022
  •  Accepted: 25 January 2023
  •  Published: 28 February 2023


Although soil microbial biomass (MBC) comprises less than 5% of soil organic matter, it responds rapidly to changes in soil management practices and, therefore, is generally used as an early indicators of changes in soil carbon. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of tillage practices (conventional tillage and no-tillage) and fertilizer types (synthetic, organic, and no fertilizer) on soil MBC. The field experiment, located in Buea, was arranged in a split-plot design with three replications and had tillage systems as main plots and fertilizer types as sub-plots. Soil samples were collected at 0–15 cm depth at an interval of 4 (early season), 8 (mid-season) and 12 (late season) weeks during the 2020 and 2021 minor and major growing seasons respectively, for the determination of soil MBC by the chloroform fumigation and extraction method. The findings of the study showed that the main effect of tillage practice and fertilizer types was nonsignificant (p>0.05) in the 2020 and 2021 study season throughout the sampling period. Plots under zero tillage with control experiments (No.Till:CON) recorded the highest soil MBC in the 2020 season (201 mg/kg) while in the 2021 season, plots under zero tillage with organic fertilization (No.Till:ORG) recorded the highest (400.4 mg/kg) soil MBC. Soil MBC was higher in the 2021 season than in the 2020 season. These findings suggest that the use of compost in combination with either conventional tillage or no-tillage in farms in the study area could potentially enhance soil MBC.


Key words: Tillage, fertilizer type, microbial biomass carbon, carbon sequestration.