This study was undertaken to evaluate the long-term effects of organic wastes on dry aggregate size distribution and on the C, N and available-P concentrations within the different aggregate fractions of some agricultural soils in North-Central Italy. Topsoils (0–20 cm) which had been amended for several years with either pig slurry (PS), cattle slurry (CS) or sewage sludge (SS) were separated into four macro-aggregate classes (4-2, 2-1, 1-0·5, 0·5-0·25 mm) and three micro-aggregate classes (0·25-0·125, 0·125-0·05 and < 0·05 mm) by dry sieving. Compared with the unamended soils, there was generally a slight increase in the proportion of the 4-2 mm macro-aggregate class following waste application. Irrespective of treatment, macro-aggregates (>0·25 mm) constituted > 70% of the total aggregate fractions.Average increases of 17, 13 and 67% (organic C), 18, 13 and 57% (total N) and 430, 372 and 642% (available P) were obtained from additions of PS, CS and SS, respectively, and increases were found in all aggregate fractions following waste application. There was a close positive correlation between the concentrations of C, N and to a lesser extent P, in the aggregates and their silt-plus-clay contents. In terms of total contents, these elements were preferentially concentrated in the macro-aggregates. Only slight differences in the C/N ratios of the aggregates were observed but their C/P and N/P ratios decreased significantly (P ≤ 0·05) following waste application.
Biological Wastes 01/1990; 31(2-31):97-111. DOI:10.1016/0269-7483(90)90164-N