Long-term and legacy effects of manure application on soil microbial community composition

Citation

Zhang, Y., Hao, X., Alexander, T.W., Thomas, B.W., Shi, X., Lupwayi, N.Z. (2018). Long-term and legacy effects of manure application on soil microbial community composition, 54(2), 269-283. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00374-017-1257-2

Plain language summary

Soils usually do not contain adequate nutrients required by crops to produce high yields. The required extra nutrients are usually supplied to the soil through application of inorganic and/or organic fertilizers. These fertilizers can have unintended positive or negative effects on soil microorganisms. We evaluated the bacterial and fungal community composition in soils with varying histories of cattle manure application. Soil bacterial evenness and diversity significantly decreased after 43 years of annual manure applications relative to other treatments in fall, but were similar to the other fertilizer treatments in spring and summer. The 43-yr manure treatment had different effects on different phyla (groups) of bacteria: it increased the relative abundances of Firmicutes, Gammaproteobacteria, and Gemmatimonadetes, but decreased the relative abundances of Acidobacteria. The study showed that 43 annual manure applications led to a different microbial community composition than the other fertilizer treatments. Soil without manure application for 13 years had a significantly different microbial community composition from other fertilizer treatments in fall (legacy effect), while the soil without manure application for 29 years resembled a microbial community that had never received manure (no legacy effect).

Abstract

We analyzed soil prokaryotic and fungal community composition in soils with varying histories of cattle manure application. The manure treatments were (i) annual application for 43 years (MF), (ii) annual application for 14 years followed by 29 years without application (MF14), and (iii) annual application for 30 years followed by 13 years without application (MF30). An annual application of chemical nitrogen (N) fertilizer (CNF) and a non-amended control (Con) were also included. Soil prokaryotic evenness and diversity significantly decreased in MF relative to other treatments in fall, but were similar to the other fertilizer treatments in spring and summer. Distinct prokaryotic and fungal community composition was observed in MF compared to other treatments across fall, spring, and summer seasons. The MF treatment significantly increased the relative abundance of Firmicutes, Gammaproteobacteria, and Gemmatimonadetes, but significantly decreased the relative abundance of Acidobacteria. In fall, the soil prokaryotic and fungal community composition with MF30 was significantly different than the other fertilization treatments. Overall, the study showed that annual manure application (MF) led to a different microbial community composition than the other fertilizer treatments. Soil without manure application for 13 years (MF30) had a significantly different microbial community composition from other fertilizer treatments in fall, while the soil without manure application for 29 years (MF14) resembled a microbial community that had never received manure.