Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 457–468 | Cite as

Response of microbial diversity to C:N:P stoichiometry in fine root and microbial biomass following afforestation

  • Chengjie Ren
  • Ji Chen
  • Jian Deng
  • Fazhu Zhao
  • Xinhui Han
  • Gaihe Yang
  • Xiaogang Tong
  • Yongzhong Feng
  • Shelby Shelton
  • Guangxin Ren
Original Paper


Soil samples were collected in June and October from areas with three land-use types, i.e., Robinia pseudoacacia L. (RP), Caragana korshinskii Kom. (CK), and abandoned land (AL), of which the former two were afforested areas, whereas the latter was not. These areas were converted from similar farmlands 40 years prior. Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA gene and fungal ITS gene was used to analyze soil bacterial and fungal diversity. Additionally, plant communities, soil properties, fine root biomass, and C, N, and P levels in fine root and microbial biomass were estimated. Compared to AL, the C:N:P stoichiometry in fine root and microbial biomass in the afforested lands was synchronously changed, especially the N:P ratio. Soil microbial diversities were affected by afforestation and were more related to N:P ratio than C:P and C:N ratios. Moreover, Alpha-proteobacteria, Gamma-proteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes were significantly more abundant in afforested soils than in the AL soil, and the abundances of Actinobacteria, Chloroflexi, Cyanobacteria, and Nitrospirae ranked as AL > RP or CK. For fungal taxa, Ascomycota abundance responded positively to afforestation, whereas Basidiomycota abundance responded negatively. Changes of soil microbial taxa were significantly correlated with the N:P ratio in fine root and microbial biomass, which explained 54.1 and 55% of the total variation in bacterial and fungal taxa, respectively. Thus, our results provide evidence that compositions of soil microbial communities are linked to the N:P ratio in the plant-soil system.


Afforestation C:N:P stoichiometry Illumina sequencing Soil microbial communities 



The authors especially thank Pinsheng Sun, Yadong Xu, and Tao Wang (Northwest A&F University) for their help with the fieldwork. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41301601, 41571501).

Supplementary material

374_2017_1197_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1018 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1017 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chengjie Ren
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ji Chen
    • 3
  • Jian Deng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fazhu Zhao
    • 4
  • Xinhui Han
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gaihe Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaogang Tong
    • 5
  • Yongzhong Feng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shelby Shelton
    • 6
  • Guangxin Ren
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.College of AgronomyNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  2. 2.The Research Center of Recycle Agricultural Engineering and Technology of Shaanxi ProvinceYanglingChina
  3. 3.Center for Ecological and Environmental Sciences, Key Laboratory for Space Bioscience & BiotechnologyNorthwestern Polytechnical UniversityXi’anChina
  4. 4.College of Urban and Environmental ScienceNorthwest UniversityXi’anChina
  5. 5.College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  6. 6.Milken Institute of Public HealthThe George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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