Plant–microbe networks in soil are weakened by century‐long use of inorganic fertilizers

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Huang, R., McGrath, S. P., Hirsch, P. R., Clark, I. M., Storkey, J., Wu, L., Zhou, J. and Liang, Y. 2019. Plant–microbe networks in soil are weakened by century‐long use of inorganic fertilizers. Microbial Biotechnology. 12 (6), pp. 1464-1475.

AuthorsHuang, R., McGrath, S. P., Hirsch, P. R., Clark, I. M., Storkey, J., Wu, L., Zhou, J. and Liang, Y.
Abstract

Understanding the changes in plant–microbe interactions is critically important for predicting ecosystem functioning in response to human‐induced environmental changes such as nitrogen (N) addition. In this study, the effects of a century‐long fertilization treatment (> 150 years) on the networks between plants and soil microbial functional communities, detected by GeoChip, in grassland were determined in the Park Grass Experiment at Rothamsted Research, UK. Our results showed that plants and soil microbes have a consistent response to long‐term fertilization—both richness and diversity of plants and soil microbes are significantly decreased, as well as microbial functional genes involved in soil carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) cycling. The network‐based analyses showed that long‐term fertilization decreased the complexity of networks between plant and microbial functional communities in terms of node numbers, connectivity, network density and the clustering coefficient. Similarly, within the soil microbial community, the strength of microbial associations was also weakened in response to long‐term fertilization. Mantel path analysis showed that soil C and N contents were the main factors affecting the network between plants and microbes. Our results indicate that century‐long fertilization weakens the plant–microbe networks, which is important in improving our understanding of grassland ecosystem functions and stability under long‐term agriculture management.

Year of Publication2019
JournalMicrobial Biotechnology
Journal citation12 (6), pp. 1464-1475
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/1751-7915.13487
PubMed ID31536680
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 1 (WP1) - Optimising nutrient flows and pools in the soil-plant-biota system
The Rothamsted Long Term Experiments [2017-2022]
Publisher's version
Copyright license
CC BY
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online19 Sep 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted26 Aug 2019
PublisherWiley
ISSN1751-7915

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