Hydrolytic soil enzymes and their response to fertilization: a short review


  • Angélica Bautista-Cruz Instituto Politécnico Nacional, CIIDIR-Oaxaca
  • Yolanda Donají Ortíz-Hernández Instituto Politécnico Nacional, CIIDIR-Oaxaca




hydrolases, mineral fertilizers, organic fertilizers, soil


Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions in living systems, transforming specific substrates into the products needed in biological cycles and for many edaphic processes. Soil enzymatic activities have been proposed as soil quality indicators, due to their relation with soil biology. Although the long-term effects of organic and mineral fertilization on physical and chemical soil properties have been previously studied, little is known about their effects on microbial community structure, microbial biomass carbon, microbial activity and enzymatic activity. Some studies report that organic and mineral fertilizers can affect, be it positively or negatively, microbial biomass size as well as soil microbial activity. This work examines the effect of fertilization on the enzymatic activity of soil hydrolases.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Angélica Bautista-Cruz, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, CIIDIR-Oaxaca

Research professor, Natural Resource Department

Yolanda Donají Ortíz-Hernández, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, CIIDIR-Oaxaca

Research professor, Natural Resource Department


Adriano, M. de L.; Gutiérrez, F.; Dendooven, L.; Salvador-Figueroa, M. 2012. Influence of compost and liquid bioferment on the chemical and biological characteristics of soil cultivated with banana (Musa spp. L.). Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 12: 33-43.

Álvarez-Solís, D.J., Gómez-Velasco, D.A., León-Martínez, N.S., Gutiérrez-Miceli, F.A. 2010. Integrated management of inorganic and organic fertilizers in maize cropping. Agrociencia 44: 575-586.

Alvear, M., Pino, M., Castillo, C., Trasar-Cepeda, C., Gil-Sotres, F. 2006. Efecto de la cero labranza sobre algunas actividades biológicas en un Alfisol del sur de Chile. Revista de la Ciencia del Suelo y Nutrición Vegetal 6: 38-56.

Alvear, M., Rosas, A., Rouanet, J.L., Borie, F. 2005. Effects of three soil tillage systems on some biological activities in an Ultisol from southern Chile. Soil and Tillage Research 82: 195-202.

Aşkın, T., Kızılkaya, R. 2006. Assessing spatial variability of soil enzyme activities in pasture topsoils using geostatistics. European Journal of Soil Biology 42: 230-237.

Balezentiene, L., Klimas, E. 2009. Effect of organic and mineral fertilizers and land management on soil enzyme activities. Agronomy Research 7: 191-197.

Bastida, F., Kandeler, E., Hernandez, T., Garcia, C. 2008. Long-term effect of municipal solid waste amendment on microbial abundance and humus-associated enzyme activities under semiarid conditions. Microbial Ecology 55: 651-661.

Beauregard, M., Hamel, C., St-Arnaud, M. 2010. Long-term phosphorus fertilization impacts soil fungal and bacterial diversity but not AM fungal community in alfalfa. Microbial Ecology 59: 379–389.

Böhme, L., Böhme, F. 2006. Soil microbiological and biochemical properties affected by plant growth and different long-term fertilization. European Journal of Soil Science 42: 1-12.

Böhme, L., Langer, U., Böhme, F. 2005. Microbial biomass, enzyme activities and microbial community structure in two European long-term field experiments. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment 109: 141-152.

Bünemann, E.K., Schwenke, G.D., Van Zwieten, L. 2006. Impact of agricultural inputs on soil organisms-a review. Australian Journal of Soil Research 44: 379-406.

Burns, R.G. 1978. Enzyme activity in soil: some theoretical and practical considerations. In: Burns, R.G. (ed.) Soil enzymes. Academic Press, London. p. 295-340.

Burns, R.G., DeForest, J.L., Marxsen, J., Sinsabaugh, R.L., Stromberger, M.E., Wallenstein, M.D., Weintraub, M.N., Zoppini, A. 2013. Soil enzymes in a changing environment: Current knowledge and future directions. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 58: 216-234.

Butt, M.S., Nadeem, M.T., Ahmad Z., Sultan M.T. 2008. Xylanases in Baking Industry, Food Technology and Biotechnology 1: 22-31.

Cerón-Rincón, L., Melgarejo-Muñoz, L.M. 2005. Enzimas del suelo: indicadores de salud y calidad. Acta Biológica Colombiana 10: 5-17.

Chakrabarti, K., Sarkar, B., Chakraborty, A., Banick, P., Bagchi, D.K. 2000. Organic recycling for soil quality conservation in a sub-tropical plateau region. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science 184: 137-142.

Chang, E.H., Chung, R.S., Tsai, Y.H. 2007. Effect of different application rates of organic fertilizer on soil enzyme activity and microbial population. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 53: 132-140.

Chaparro, J.M., Sheflin, A.M., Manter, D.K., Vivanco, J.M. 2012. Manipulating the soil microbiome to increase soil health and plant fertility. Biology and Fertility of Soils 48: 489-499.

Clarholm, M. 1993. Microbial biomass P, labile P, and acid phosphatase activity in the humus layer of a spruce forest, after repeated additions of fertilizers. Biology and Fertility of Soils 16: 287-292.

Crecchio, C., Curci, M., Pizzigallo, M.D.R., Ricciuti, P., Ruggiero, P. 2004. Effects of municipal solid waste compost amendments on soil enzyme activities and bacterial genetic diversity. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 36: 1595-1605.

Datt, N., Dubey, Y.P., Chaudhary, R. 2013. Studies on impact of organic, inorganic and integrated use of nutrients on symbiotic parameters, yield, quality of French-bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) vis-à-vis soil properties of an acid Alfisol. African Journal of Agricultural Research 8: 2645-2654.

Debosz, K., Rasmussen, P.H., Pedersen, A.R. 1999. Temporal variations in microbial biomass C and cellulolytic enzyme activity in arable soils: Effects of organic matter input. Applied Soil Ecology 13: 209-218.

Dick, A., Tabatabai, M.A. 1992. Significance and potential use of soil enzymes. In: Meeting, F.J.B. (ed.) Soil Microbial Ecology: Applications in Agriculture and Environmental Management. Marcel Dekker, NY. USA. p. 95-127.

Dick, R.P. 1997. Soil enzyme activities as integrative indicators of soil health. In: Pankhurts, C., Doube, B.M., Gupta, V.V.S.R. (eds.) Biological Indicators of Soil Health. CAB International, UK. p. 97-154.

Dick, W.A., Cheng, L., Wang, P. 2000. Soil acid and alkaline phosphatase activity as pH adjustment indicators. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 32: 1915-1919.

Eivazi, F., Bayan, M.R., Schmidt, K. 2003. Select soil enzyme activities in the historic Sanborn Field as affected by long-term cropping systems. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 34: 2259-2275.

Emnova, E., Toma, S., Daraban, O., Druta, La. 2012. La actividad enzimática de soja raíz-tierra adherida en dependencia de nutrición y condición contenido en agua". Lucrari Stiintifice Seria Agronomie 55: 51-54.

Franco-Otero, V.G., Soler-Rovira, P., Hernández, D., López-de-Sá, E.G., Plaza, C. 2012. Short-term effects of organic municipal wastes on wheat yield, microbial biomass, microbial activity, and chemical properties of soil. Biology and Fertility of Soils 48: 205-216.

Gianfreda, L., Ruggiero, P. 2006. Enzyme activities in soil. In: Nannipieri, P., Smalla, K. (eds.) Soil Biology, Nucleic Acids and Proteins in Soil. Springer-Verlag, Germany. p. 257-311.

Gil-Sotres, F., Trasar-Cepeda, C., Leirós, M.C., Seoane, S. 2005. Different approaches to evaluating soil quality using biochemical properties. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 37: 877-887.

Hota, R., Jena, A.K., Narayana, K.L. 2014. Effect of inorganic and organic amendments on yield of cocoyam (Colocasia esculenta), and on soil properties. World Journal of Agricultural Research 2: 70-81.

Jin, K., Sleutel, S., Buchan, D., De Neve, S., Cai, D.X., Gabriels, D., Jin, J.Y. 2009. Changes of soil enzyme activities under different tillage practices in the Chinese Loess Plateau. Soil and Tillage Research 104: 115-120.

Joinville, S., Revault, M., Quiquampoix, H., Baron, M.H. 2004. Structural effects of drying and rehydration for enzymes in soils: Kinetics-FTIR Análisis of chymotrypsin adsorbed on montmorillonite. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 273: 414-425.

Kalembasa, S., Symanowicz, B. 2012. Enzymatic activity of soil after applying various waste organic materials, ash and mineral fertilizers. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies 21: 1635-1641.

Kandeler, E., Stemmer, M., Klimanek, E.M. 1999. Response of soil microbial biomass, urease and xylanase within particle size fractions to long-term soil management. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 31: 261-273.

Karigar, C.S., Rao, S.S. 2011. Role of microbial enzymes in the bioremediation of pollutants: a review. Enzyme Research. doi:10.4061/2011/805187

Kautz, T., Wirth, S., Ellmer, F. 2004. Microbial activity in a sandy arable soil is governed by the fertilization regime. European Journal of Soil Biology 40: 87-94.

Konig, C., Kaltvasser, H., Schiegel, H.G. 1996. The formation of urease after use of other nitrogen sources in Hidrogenumonas. Archives of Microbiology 53: 231-241.

Kumar, S.D, Varma, A. 2011. Role of Enzymes in Maintaining Soil Health. In: Shukla, G., Varma, A. (eds.) Soil Enzymology, Soil Biology 22. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. 384 p.

Mandal, A., Patra, A.K., Singh, D., Swarup, A., Masto, R.E. 2007. Effect of long-term application of manure and fertilizer on biological and biochemical activities in soil during crop development stages. Bioresource Technology 98: 3585-3592.

Marcote, I., Hernández, T., García, C., Polo, A. 2001. Influence of one or two successive annual applications of organic fertilizers on the enzyme activity of a soil under barley cultivation. Bioresource Technology 79:147-154.

Marklein, A.R., Houlton, B.Z. 2012. Nitrogen inputs accelerate phosphorus cycling rates across a wide variety of terrestrial ecosystems. New Phytologist 193: 696-704.

Martens, D.A., Johanson, J.A., Frankerberger, W.T. 1992. Production and persistence of soil enzymes with repeated additions of organic residues. Soil Science 153: 53-61.

Martínez-Gallegos, V.; Bautista-Cruz, M.A.; Robles, C. 2012. Phosphatase responses in the rhizosphere of Agave angustifolia Haw. on base to organic-mineral fertilization. Naturaleza y Desarrollo 10: 28-45.

Meysner, T., Szajdak, L., Kuṡ, J. 2006. Impact of the farming systems on the content of biologically active substances and the forms of nitrogen in the soils. Agronomy Research 4: 531-542.

Mijangos, I., Pérez, R., Albizu, I., Garbisu, C. 2006. Effects of fertilization and tillage on soil biological parameters. Enzyme and Microbial Technology 10:100-106.

Mohammadi, K. 2011. Soil microbial activity and biomass as influenced by tillage and fertilization in wheat production. American-Eurasian Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Science10: 330-337.

Okur, N. Altindişli, A., Çengel, M., GöÇmez, S., KayikÇioğlu, H.H. 2009. Microbial biomass and enzyme activity in vineyard soils under organic and conventional farming systems. Turkish Journal of Agriculture and Forestry 33: 413-423.

Olander, L.P., Vitousek, P.M. 2000. Regulation of soil phosphatase and chitinase activity by N and P availability. Biogeochemistry 49:175-190.

Reyes, F., Lillo, A., Ojeda, N., Reyes, M., Alvear, M. 2011. Influence of slope and orientation on biological activities of a relict temperate forest from South-Central Chile. Bosque 32: 255-265.

Ros, M., Pascual, J.A., Garcia, C., Hernandez, M.T., Insam, H. 2006. Hydrolase activities, microbial biomass and bacterial community in a soil after long-term amendment with different compost. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 38: 3443-3452.

Rosolem, C.A., Merlin, A., Bull, J.C.L. 2014. Soil phosphorus dynamics as affected by Congo grass and P fertilizer. Scientia Agricola 71: 309-315.

Saha, S., Prakash, V., Kundu, S., Kumar, N., Mina, B.L. 2008. Soil enzymatic activity as affected by long term application of farm yard manure and mineral fertilizer under a rainfed soybean-wheat system in N-W Himalaya. European Journal of Soil Biology 44: 309-315.

Sinsabaugh, R.L., Lauber, C.L.,Weintraub, M.N., Ahmed, B., Allison, S.D., Crenshaw, C., Contosta, A.R., Cusack, D., Frey, S., Gallo, M.E., Gartner, T.B., Hobbie, S.E., Holland, K., Keeler, B.L., Powers, J.S., Stursova, M., Takacs-Vesbach, C., Waldrop, M., Wallenstein, M., Zak, D.R., Zeglin, L.H. 2008. Stoichiometry of soil enzyme activity at global scale. Ecology Letters 11: 1252-1264.

Spohn, M., Kuzyakov, Y. 2013. Distribution of microbial-and root-derived phosphatase activities in the rhizosphere depending on P availability and C allocation-Coupling soil zymography with 14C imaging. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 67: 106-113.

Srivastava, P.J., Gupta, M., Upadhyay, R.K., Sharma, S., Shikha, Singh, N., Tewari, S.K., Singh, B. 2012. Effects of combined application of vermicompost and mineral fertilizer on the growth of Allium cepa L. and soil fertility. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 175: 101-107.

Taylor, J.P., Wilson, B., Mills, M.S., Burns, R.G. 2002. Comparison of microbial numbers and enzymatic activities in surface soils and subsoils using various techniques. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 34: 387-401.

Treseder, K.K. 2008. Nitrogen additions and microbial biomass: a meta-analysis of ecosystem studies. Ecology Letters 11: 1111-1120.

Turner, B.L., Hopkins, D.W., Haygarth, P.M., Ostle, N. 2002. β-glucosidase activity in pasture soils. Applied Soil Ecology 10: 157-162.

Yang, L., Li, T., Li, F., Lemcoff, J.H., Cohen, S. 2008. Fertilization regulates soil enzymatic activity and fertility dynamics in a cucumber field. Scientia Horticulturae 116: 21–26.




How to Cite

Bautista-Cruz, A., & Ortíz-Hernández, Y. D. (2015). Hydrolytic soil enzymes and their response to fertilization: a short review. Comunicata Scientiae, 6(3), 255–262. https://doi.org/10.14295/cs.v6i3.962



Review Article