Seasonal variation in the soil microbial community in wheat-growing soil and influence of C, N, and P inputs
It has long been know that N and P fertilization increases plant growth and yield, but the impact of fertilization on soil microorganisms has rarely been considered. Long-term plots (36-year old) under fallow-wheat-wheat (F-W-W) rotations with no P or no N fertilization, or normally fertilized, and plots receiving low C inputs due to frequent fallow (F-W rotation) were used to define the impact of C, N and P on the seasonal variation of the soil microbial communities in the fallow-after-wheat or the wheat-after-fallow phases of the rotations. The soil was sampled on June 8, July 4, August 5 and September 16, in 2003. There was no significant (P≤ 0.05) time by treatment interactions. Populations of bacteria, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and saprophytic fungi, as estimated by phospholipids fatty acid (PLFA) indicators, were strongly reduced on July 4th, a date corresponding to rapid plant growth. Sporulation of fungal saprobes was enhanced at that date, as indicated by the neutral lipid fatty acid (NLFA) to PLFA fraction ratio of the fatty acid C18:2. It appears that a competition for resources exists between soil microorganisms and wheat, at least in July at the time of active crop growth. While P availability had little effect on soil microorganisms, absence of N fertilization increased sporulation in AM and saprophytic fungi. In spite of the biotrophic1 nature of AM fungi, C input in the form of infrequent fallow or presence of living wheat plant favoured the partitioning of fatty acids into reserve lipid i.e., NLFA.
soil microbial community structure
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