Due to the increasing sewage sludge production in the world and problems with its disposal, an application of sludge to the soil appears to be a suitable solution considering its fertilizer properties and ability to improve the soil physical conditions. On the other hand, the sludge may also contain undesirable and toxic substances. Since soil microorganisms are sensitive to environmental changes, they can be used as indicators of soil quality. In this study, we used sewage sludge (SS) from two municipal wastewater treatment plants (SS-A and SS-B) in the dose of 5 t/ha and 15 t/ha in order to determine possible changes in the fungal community diversity, especially arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), in the rhizosphere of Arundo donax
L. Rhizosphere samples were collected in summer and autumn for two consecutive years and the fungal diversity was examined using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and 18S rDNA sequencing. Fungal alpha diversity was more affected by SS-A than SS-B probably due to the higher heavy metal content. However, based on principal component analysis and ANOSIM, significant changes in overall fungal diversity were not observed. Simultaneously, 18S rDNA sequencing showed that more various fungal taxa were detected in the sample with sewage sludge than in the control. Glomus
sp. as a representative of AMF was the most represented. Moreover, Funneliformis
in both samples and Rhizophagus
in control with Septoglomus
in the sludge sample were other representatives of AMF. Our results indicate that the short-term sewage sludge application into the soil does not cause a shift in the fungal community composition.
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