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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(2), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19020622

Belowground Interactions Impact the Soil Bacterial Community, Soil Fertility, and Crop Yield in Maize/Peanut Intercropping Systems

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1
College of crop Sciences, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China
2
Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory of Agroecological Processing and Safety Monitoring, College of Life Sciences, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China
3
Key Laboratory of Crop Ecology and Molecular Physiology (Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University), Fujian Province University, Fuzhou 35002, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 11 February 2018 / Accepted: 15 February 2018 / Published: 22 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Microbe Interaction 2017)
Full-Text   |   PDF [4292 KB, uploaded 22 February 2018]   |  

Abstract

Intercropping has been widely used to control disease and improve yield in agriculture. In this study, maize and peanut were used for non-separation intercropping (NS), semi-separation intercropping (SS) using a nylon net, and complete separation intercropping (CS) using a plastic sheet. In field experiments, two-year land equivalent ratios (LERs) showed yield advantages due to belowground interactions when using NS and SS patterns as compared to monoculture. In contrast, intercropping without belowground interactions (CS) showed a yield disadvantage. Meanwhile, in pot experiments, belowground interactions (found in NS and SS) improved levels of soil-available nutrients (nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)) and enzymes (urease and acid phosphomonoesterase) as compared to intercropping without belowground interactions (CS). Soil bacterial community assay showed that soil bacterial communities in the NS and SS crops clustered together and were considerably different from the CS crops. The diversity of bacterial communities was significantly improved in soils with NS and SS. The abundance of beneficial bacteria, which have the functions of P-solubilization, pathogen suppression, and N-cycling, was improved in maize and peanut soils due to belowground interactions through intercropping. Among these bacteria, numbers of Bacillus, Brevibacillus brevis, and Paenibacillus were mainly increased in the maize rhizosphere. Burkholderia, Pseudomonas, and Rhizobium were mainly increased in the peanut rhizosphere. In conclusion, using maize and peanut intercropping, belowground interactions increased the numbers of beneficial bacteria in the soil and improved the diversity of the bacterial community, which was conducive to improving soil nutrient (N and P) supply capacity and soil microecosystem stability. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil nutrition; soil bacterial community; microbial diversity; intercropping; T-RFLP; qPCR soil nutrition; soil bacterial community; microbial diversity; intercropping; T-RFLP; qPCR
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Li, Q.; Chen, J.; Wu, L.; Luo, X.; Li, N.; Arafat, Y.; Lin, S.; Lin, W. Belowground Interactions Impact the Soil Bacterial Community, Soil Fertility, and Crop Yield in Maize/Peanut Intercropping Systems. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 622.

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