ABSTRACT Effect of long-term application (ca. 30 years) of compost at different levels on humus composi-tion of whole soils and their particle size frac-tions in a field subjected mainly to double cropping (barley and paddy rice) was investi-gated. Soil samples were collected from three plots of different types of management: (a) F plot, only chemical fertilizers containing N, P and K were applied; (b) F+LC plot, both chemi-cal fertilizers and a low level of compost were applied; (c) F+HC plot, both chemical fertilizers and a high level of compost were applied (the amount of compost applied in the F+HC plot was three times larger than that applied in the F+LC plot). Each soil sample was divided into coarse sand- (CSA), medium sand-(MSA) and fine sand-(FSA) sized aggregate, silt-sized ag-gregate (SIA) and clay-sized aggregate (CLA) fractions by wet-sieving and sedimentation. In addition, the CSA and MSA fractions were sub-divided into “mineral particles” (MP) and “de-cayed plants” (DP) by a density fractionation. Humus composition was influenced depending upon the level of compost applied. The applica-tion induced an increase in the amounts of total humus (TH), humic acid (HA) and fulvic acid (FA) in the whole soil and many size fractions, par-ticularly, SIA fraction. The increase was re-markable in the F+HC plot. In the CSA and MSA fractions, the amounts of TH, HA and FA were much larger in the CSA- and MSA-DP fractions than in the CSA- and MSA-MP fractions. The amounts of TH, HA and FA in the SIA fraction were larger than those in the CLA fraction for the F+HC and F+LC plots, and the reverse was true for the F plot. On the other hand, the de-grees of humification of humic acids in whole soils and many size fractions, particularly SIA fraction, decreased by compost application. The decrease was markedly in the F+HC plot. These findings suggest that the SIA fraction play an important role in the quantitative and qualitative changes of humus, including HA and FA, as in-fluenced by a long-term compost application.
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