Greener Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition

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Best-Ordinioha et al

Greener Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition Vol. 3 (1), pp. 025-031, October 2016.

  ISSN: 2354-2292 © 2016 Authors

Research Paper

Manuscript Number: 102716175



The Effect of the Application of Different Rates of Herbicides on Soil Microorganisms


1*Mrs. Joyce Chinyere Best-Ordinioha, 2Prof. Anthony E. Ataga,

3Dr. Edache B. Ochekwu


1Doctoral Student, Department of Plant Science and Biotechnology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

2Professor, Department of Plant Science and Biotechnology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

3Senior Lecturer, Department of Plant Science and Biotechnology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.


Background: The use of herbicide in weed control has grown significantly in Nigeria in recent years. Most of the application are indiscriminately carried out by illiterate farmers, and therefore pose a significant threat to the environment and on crop yield. This study assessed the effects of the use of glyphosate for land preparation, and different concentrations of primextra dual gold (atrazine and metolachlor), for weed control on the type and population of soil micro-organisms.


Methods: The study was carried out in Port Harcourt in two phases, using a randomized complete block design with three replicates. Soil samples were collected at the depths of 0-15cm and 15-30cm, and analyzed 4WAP and 12WAP. Serial dilution technique was used for the enumeration of the bacteria and fungi in the soil samples, using the spread plate method, and the appropriate media and incubation conditions.


Results: The use of the herbicides resulted in changes in the soil, and in the type and number of soil micro-organisms. There were reductions in the organic matter and exchangeable minerals content of the soil, and in the total count of the micro-organisms in the second phase of the study. The mean bacteria count in the first phase of the study were 5.75 x 108 CFU and 1.13 x 108 CFU at the depths of 0 – 15cm and 15 – 30cm respectively, compared to 2.88 x 104 CFU and 6.32 x 104 CFU in the second phase of the study. The reductions were more in the plots in which the herbicides had been applied above the recommended dose.


Conclusion: The application of the herbicides resulted in changes in the soil, and type and total number of soil micro-organisms, especially when they are applied at above the recommended rate. Efforts are therefore needed to educate farmers on the proper dosing of the herbicides.


Keywords: Herbicides, Glyphosate, atrazine, metolachlor, bacterial count, soil fungal count, Nigeria.

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