Assessment of soil health in urban agriculture: Soil enzymes and microbial properties

Avanthi Deshani Igalavithana, Sang Soo Lee, Nabeel Khan Niazi, Young Han Lee, Kye Hoon Kim, Jeong Hun Park, Deok Hyun Moon, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Urban agriculture has been recently highlighted with the increased importance for recreation in modern society; however, soil quality and public health may not be guaranteed because of continuous exposure to various pollutants. The objective of this study was to evaluate the soil quality of urban agriculture by soil microbial assessments. Two independent variables, organic and inorganic fertilizers, were considered. The activities of soil enzymes including dehydrogenase, β-glucosidase, arylsulfatase, urease, alkaline and acid phosphatases were used as indicators of important microbial mediated functions and the soil chemical properties were measured in the soils applied with organic or inorganic fertilizer for 10 years. Fatty acid methyl ester analysis was applied to determine the soil microbial community composition. Relatively higher microbial community richness and enzyme activities were found in the organic fertilizers applied soils as compared to the inorganic fertilizers applied soils. Principal component analysis explained the positive influence of organic fertilizers on the microbial community. The application of organic fertilizers can be a better alternative compared to inorganic fertilizers for the long-term health and security of urban agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number310
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • FAME
  • Organic fertilizer
  • Soil enzyme
  • Soil quality
  • Urban agriculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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