Soil Bacterial Community Changes in Sugarcane Fields Under Straw Removal in Brazil
Global promotion of bioenergy for mitigating climate changes has arisen the interest of the Brazilian sugarcane industry to use crop residue (straw) as an important source of biomass for bioelectricity and cellulosic ethanol production. However, the sugarcane straw influences several soil properties, supporting soil quality and crop yields. Thus, defining an optimal removal rate would keep the benefits of the sugarcane straw in soil, and also maximize the bioenergy production. Shifts on soil bacterial structure have been used as a sensitive indicator of land management and could help to prescribe an optimal removal rate. We conducted a field study at two sites in São Paulo state to investigate how rates of sugarcane straw removal are associated with soil bacterial community changes over 1 year. Four sugarcane straw removal rates were evaluated: no removal (~ 14 Mg ha−1 of dry mass left) and 50% (~ 7.0 Mg ha−1), 75% (~ 3.5 Mg ha−1), and 100% of straw removal. The soil bacterial community structure was evaluated by the terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP). Our results indicated that soil bacteria communities change over time, regardless of site conditions, and their changes are more strongly associated with changes on straw composition. A similar straw decomposition dynamics was observed under moderate (50%) and no removal treatments. Moderate straw removal induced the lowest modification of the bacterial niche occupancy and highest microbial interaction when compared with the no removal. Therefore, the identification of changes in soil bacterial structure community is useful to provide guidance for sugarcane straw removal.
KeywordsBioenergy T-RFLP Microbial community Straw quality Hemicellulose
Laisa G. Pimentel, Thiago Gumiere, and Dener M. S. Oliveira thank the São Paulo Research Foundation - FAPESP (processes #2015/00308-0, #2013/18529-8, and #2014/08632-9) for providing their PhD scholarships. Maurício R. Cherubin thanks the Fundação de Estudos Agrários Luiz de Queiroz (Project #67555) for providing his postdoctoral fellowship and FAPEPS (Process #2018/09845-7).
This research received funding from the Brazilian Development Bank - BNDES and the Raízen Energia S/A (Project #14.2.0773.1).
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