Short-term effects of returning granulated straw on soil microbial community and organic carbon fractions in dryland farming

Abstract

We conducted a 2-year field experiment which was comprised of five treatments, namely no straw returning (CK), straw mulching (SM), straw plowed into the soil (SP), and straw returned in granulated form (SG). The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of different straw returning modes on soil bacterial and fungal community structure and their relationships to soil organic carbon (SOC) fractions at three different soil depths (0–20, 20–40, and 40–60 cm) in a dryland under maize cultivation in Northeast (NE) China. SM, SP, and SG treatments significantly increased SOC content. Compared with SM and SP treatments, SG treatment significantly increased the content of SOC and easily oxidizable carbon (EOC) in the topsoil (0–20 cm depth), and increased dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and SOC content of the light fraction (LFOC) in the 20–40 cm layer. Meanwhile, SG treatment exhibited the highest microbial biomass C (MBC) content in all of the three soil depths. SG treatment also enhanced bacterial richness as well as fungal richness and diversity in the upper 40 cm of soil. In addition, SG treatment increased the relative abundance of Proteobacteria in all depths, and had the highest relative abundance of Basidiomycota in the first 20 cm of soil. SP treatment showed the lowest soil organic carbon content in all fractions and soil microbial community composition. SM treatment exhibited similar results to SG treatment in SOC, DOC, and LFOC contents, and bacterial diversity in the topsoil and subsoil. As a whole, treatment SG improved soil quality and maize yield, hence we recommend returning granulated straw as the most effective practice for enhancing labile SOC fractions as well as maintaining soil diversity and microbial richness of arid farmlands in NE China.

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Acknowledgments

We acknowledge Prof. Juan Carlos García-Gil and Dr. Iria Benavente of Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), who have greatly contributed to improving our paper. This study was supported by grants from the Key Research Program of the Science & Technology Agency of Jilin Province, China (20190301018NY) and the National Key R&D Program of China (Grant number 2018YFD0300203; 2017YFD-0201801).

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Correspondence to Jinggui Wu.

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Fan, W., Wu, J. Short-term effects of returning granulated straw on soil microbial community and organic carbon fractions in dryland farming. J Microbiol. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12275-020-9266-5

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Keywords

  • returning straw
  • soil organic carbon fractions
  • microbial community
  • granulated straw