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Metagenomic Analyses of Plant Growth-Promoting and Carbon-Cycling Genes in Maize Rhizosphere Soils with Distinct Land-Use and Management Histories

Food Security and Safety Niche Area, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, North-West University, Private Bag, X2046, Mmabatho 2735, South Africa
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Academic Editors: Manuel Carmona and Gonzalo Durante-Rodríguez
Genes 2021, 12(9), 1431; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12091431
Received: 11 August 2021 / Revised: 4 September 2021 / Accepted: 13 September 2021 / Published: 17 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regulation of Microbial Biosynthetic Genes and Biodegradation Genes)
Many studies have shown that the maize rhizosphere comprises several plant growth-promoting microbes, but there is little or no study on the effects of land-use and management histories on microbial functional gene diversity in the maize rhizosphere soils in Africa. Analyzing microbial genes in the rhizosphere of plants, especially those associated with plant growth promotion and carbon cycling, is important for improving soil fertility and crop productivity. Here, we provide a comparative analysis of microbial genes present in the rhizosphere samples of two maize fields with different agricultural histories using shotgun metagenomics. Genes involved in the nutrient mobilization, including nifA, fixJ, norB, pstA, kefA and B, and ktrB were significantly more abundant (α = 0.05) in former grassland (F1) rhizosphere soils. Among the carbon-cycling genes, the abundance of 12 genes, including all those involved in the degradation of methane were more significant (α = 0.05) in the F1 soils, whereas only five genes were significantly more abundant in the F2 soils. α-diversity indices were different across the samples and significant differences were observed in the β diversity of plant growth-promoting and carbon-cycling genes between the fields (ANOSIM, p = 0.01 and R = 0.52). Nitrate-nitrogen (N-NO3) was the most influential physicochemical parameter (p = 0.05 and contribution = 31.3%) that affected the distribution of the functional genes across the samples. The results indicate that land-use and management histories impact the composition and diversity of plant growth-promoting and carbon-cycling genes in the plant rhizosphere. The study widens our understanding of the effects of anthropogenic activities on plant health and major biogeochemical processes in soils. View Full-Text
Keywords: agricultural management practices; biogeochemical processes; crop productivity; nutrient mobilization; soil ecosystem functioning; soil fertility agricultural management practices; biogeochemical processes; crop productivity; nutrient mobilization; soil ecosystem functioning; soil fertility
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chukwuneme, C.F.; Ayangbenro, A.S.; Babalola, O.O. Metagenomic Analyses of Plant Growth-Promoting and Carbon-Cycling Genes in Maize Rhizosphere Soils with Distinct Land-Use and Management Histories. Genes 2021, 12, 1431. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12091431

AMA Style

Chukwuneme CF, Ayangbenro AS, Babalola OO. Metagenomic Analyses of Plant Growth-Promoting and Carbon-Cycling Genes in Maize Rhizosphere Soils with Distinct Land-Use and Management Histories. Genes. 2021; 12(9):1431. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12091431

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chukwuneme, Chinenyenwa F., Ayansina S. Ayangbenro, and Olubukola O. Babalola 2021. "Metagenomic Analyses of Plant Growth-Promoting and Carbon-Cycling Genes in Maize Rhizosphere Soils with Distinct Land-Use and Management Histories" Genes 12, no. 9: 1431. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12091431

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