Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 114, Issue 2, pp 157–170 | Cite as

Soil microbial communities under film mulching and N fertilization in semiarid farmland

  • Shasha Luo
  • Shaojie Wang
  • Pengwei Yao
  • Dan Guo
  • Xiujun Li
  • Shiqing LiEmail author
  • Chunjie TianEmail author
Original Article


Film mulching and N fertilization can affect soil physicochemical properties, thereby improving plant growth, and may in turn affect soil microbial communities. Therefore, a 2-year field experiment was conducted to research the effects of film mulching and N fertilization on soil microbial communities. The four main treatments were N0F0, N0F1, N1F0, and N1F1, combining two N fertilizer rates (N0, 0 kg N ha−1; N1, 225 kg N ha−1) and two mulching methods (F0, no mulching; F1, film mulching) in the absence and presence of plants. The film mulching treatments significantly increased the mean temperature by 0.2 °C and decreased the soil organic carbon (SOC), mineral N and water soluble organic C by 5.6%, 35.5% and 24.0%, respectively. The N fertilization treatments significantly increased the mineral N, water soluble organic N and KMnO4-oxidizable C by 117.9%, 256.4% and 55.3%, respectively. Additionally, the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis of the soil microbial community revealed that the film mulching treatments significantly decreased the total PLFAs by 21.5% and the absolute abundance of fungi (F), bacteria (B), and actinomycetes by 26.7%, 23.1% and 24.6%, respectively. N fertilization significantly decreased the Gram-positive B/Gram-negative B ratio by 9.8%. Film mulching combining N fertilization significantly decreased the F/B ratio by 10.0%. Temperature (P < 0.001) and SOC/total P (P < 0.001) were confirmed to play significant roles in shaping the soil microbial community. Accordingly, short-term film mulching increases soil organic matter decomposition in the top soil and decreases the total soil microbial biomass and most microbial communities.


Plastic film mulching Maize cultivation Microbial community abundance Microbial community structure Labile soil organic matter 



This research was financially supported by the Special Foundation for State Major Basic Research Program of China (2016YFC0501202), Key Research Program of CAS (KFZD-SW-112-05-04), Special Foundation for Basic Research Program in Soil of CAS (XDB15030103), National Natural Science Foundation of China (41571255 and 41701332), Key Laboratory Foundation of Mollisols Agroecology (2016ZKHT-05), 135 Project of Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology (Y6H2043001), and Jilin Provincial Science and Technology Development Project of China (20180519002JH and 20180520048JH). We also declare that no conflicts of interest exit in the submission of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 103 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (PDF 97 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (PDF 197 kb)
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Supplementary material 4 (PDF 85 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mollisols Agroecology, Northeast Institute of Geography and AgroecologyChinese Academy of SciencesChangchunPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Resources and EnvironmentJilin Agricultural UniversityChangchunPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of Tobacco SciencesHenan Agricultural UniversityZhengzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water ConservationChinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water ResourceYanglingPeople’s Republic of China

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