Impact of high carbon amendments and pre-crops on soil bacterial communities

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A 2-year outdoor mesocosm experiment was carried out to determine the effects of high C amendments (HCAs; wheat straw and sawdust) compared to a control with no addition of HCAs (no-HCA) and 2 different crop rotation systems (spring barley/winter barley and faba bean/winter barley) on soil bacterial communities using a molecular barcoding approach. Samples were analyzed after pre-crop harvest (T1) and harvest of winter barley (T2). Our data demonstrate a clear drop in bacterial diversity after winter barley harvest in the no-HCA and wheat straw treatment compared to the pre-crops. Sawdust application had a stabilizing effect on bacterial diversity compared to the pre-crops and induced an increase in carbon (C) stocks in soil which were however negatively correlated with yields. Main responders in the no-HCA and wheat straw treatment compared to the pre-crops were bacteria of the phyla Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes which were enriched and bacteria belonging to Firmicutes, Gemmatimonadetes, Proteobacteria, and Gemmatimonadaceae which were depleted. Overall differences between wheat straw–amended and no-HCA control samples were small and included single ASVs from various phyla. In sawdust-amended samples, only a shift of some Proteobacteria families was observed compared to the no-HCA control. Overall, pre-crop plant species had small influence on the observed response pattern of the soil microbiome towards the amendments and was only visible for wheat straw.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiology and Fertility of Soils
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)305-317
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2021

    Research areas

  • Crop rotation, High carbon amendment, Soil microbiome, Soil multifunctionality
  • Ecosystems Research