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Open AccessArticle

Altered Bacterial Communities in Long-Term No-Till Soils Associated with Stratification of Soluble Aluminum and Soil pH

1
Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA
2
USDA Farm Service Agency, Prosser, WA 99350, USA
3
Center for Interdisciplinary Statistical Education and Research, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA
4
Northwest Sustainable Agroecosystem Research Unit, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Pullman, WA 99164, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soil Syst. 2018, 2(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/soils2010007
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 5 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Processes Controlling Contaminant Dynamics)
Soil acidification is a global issue that often results in increased aluminum (Al) toxicity. While no-till (NT) management has many benefits regarding sustainability, a discrete zone of acidification often occurs when ammoniacal fertilizers are banded below the seed. The full agroecological consequences of NT stratification and impacts on bacterial communities are largely unknown. Using next-generation sequencing (NGS) and Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt), we characterized the influence of liming amendment and soil stratification on bacterial community composition and predicted function in 2-cm depth increments. Soil depth, pH, DTPA extractable aluminum (DTPA-Al), and KCl extractable Al (KCl-Al) were all significantly correlated with bacterial community structure and function. In soils with the lowest pH and greatest extractable Al, bacterial community was distinct, with highest relative abundance of the Koribacteraceae family, an indicator of soil degradation. Additionally, aspects of bacterial metabolism and nutrient turnover were impacted in the lowest pH zones, including secondary metabolite, carbohydrate, and energy metabolism. These results suggest that soil stratification (Al and pH) in NT systems has direct impacts on microbial community structure and function, potentially influencing ecosystem services at a highly resolved spatial scale within surface depths relevant to seed germination and emergence. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil microbiome; no-till stratification; putative community function; arid soil acidification; ecosystem services; sugar beet lime; liquid lime; spatial scale soil microbiome; no-till stratification; putative community function; arid soil acidification; ecosystem services; sugar beet lime; liquid lime; spatial scale
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Lewis, R.W.; Barth, V.P.; Coffey, T.; McFarland, C.; Huggins, D.R.; Sullivan, T.S. Altered Bacterial Communities in Long-Term No-Till Soils Associated with Stratification of Soluble Aluminum and Soil pH. Soil Syst. 2018, 2, 7.

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