We tested the over time effect of different selenium doses [50 (D50) and 100 (D100) g ha−1 of Se as Na2SeO3] on a soil under corn (Zea mays L.) cultivation. The soil was sampled 18 (t1), 48 (t2) and 59 (t3) days after the addition of Se and analysed for total Se, organic carbon and nitrogen, water-extractable organic carbon, available P, microbial biomass-C (Cmic) contents, the cumulative basal respiration (ΣCO2-C) and some enzymatic activities. Our findings showed Se fertilization increased the total soil Se content, although the differences between the treated and the untreated soils disappeared over time. Se fertilization had a negligible effect on the selected soil chemical and biochemical properties, with the exception of the ΣCO2-C, and fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis and dehydrogenase activity. Indeed, these parameters showed lower values at t3 in the treated than in the untreated soils without significant decrease of the Cmic suggesting a less energy demanded by the soil microorganisms for their own maintenance. This finding suggested a better adaptation of the microbial community to the modified conditions in the treated soils, where Se fertilization might have caused a shift in soil microbial community structure and/or promoted the survival of selected microorganisms. Overall, the obtained data highlighted that Se fertilization with Na-selenite, at the rate of 50 and 100 g ha−1, had no negative impact on soil chemical and biochemical parameters, at least on a short term.
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