Special Issue "Protection of Biodiversity of Agricultural Soils"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Soil and Plant Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2022 | Viewed by 7575

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Anna Gałązka
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Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture Microbiology, Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation – State Research Institute, Czartoryskich 8, 24-100 Pulawy, Poland
Interests: microbial diversity of soils (research in molecular biology; evaluation of genetic differentiation and identification of microorganisms and characterization of metabolic profile of bacteria and fungi)
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Agnieszka Wolińska
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology and Biotechnology of Microorganisms Faculty of Science and Health, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Konstantynów 1 I Str., 20-708 Lublin, Poland
Interests: soil biodiversity; NGS; CLPP; soil biology; endophytes; microorganisms
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Vanessa Alvarez Lopez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Vegetal Production, Higher Polytechnic School of Engineering, University of Santiago de Compostela, Rúa Benigno Ledo, s/n. 27002 Lugo, Spain
Interests: soil fertilisation regimes (based on the re-use of urban residues) and soil uses in the soil physicochemical properties and soil microbial communities (at medium and long-term)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the recent decades, the world has seen a growing global energy deficit. The growing costs of agricultural production and the need to protect the environment create the necessity of using farming systems with reduced frequency and intensity of the treatments. Such tillage system should produce a low amount of carbon, thus being compatible with the assumptions of organic management systems, sustainable farming, and soil biodiversity protection. In modern agriculture, tillage has to meet many conditions to protect the soil and improve its parameters. First and foremost, it is important to reduce the losses of soil organic matter, to improve the soil structure. As a result of the use of intensive cultivation methods in many regions, soil fertility is characterized by, among other things, the reduction of biodiversity and the accumulation of harmful microorganisms and plant pathogens as well as pesticides and their derivatives in soils. It can be assumed that these phenomena will intensify as a result of dynamic climate changes, i.e., temperature increase and reduction of rainfall during the growing season. Therefore, in order to better deliver nutrients to plants and create the right conditions for their growth and development, it is important to maintain high activity and biodiversity of beneficial soil microorganisms in soil, and to introduce the rational biology of agriculture. The main aims of this Special Issue will be: 1. The evaluation of the biodiversity of agricultural soil as a foundation for environmental protection, improvement of plant yields and soil quality in the aspect of plant adaptation to climate change. 2. The optimization of processes leading to the protection of soil biodiversity in plant cultivation with particular emphasis on innovative solutions and biological yielding agents. 3. Intensification of activities leading to the formation of natural biological processes increasing environmental biodiversity, adaptation of microorganisms to climate change, plant and soil protection against the background of the concept of sustainable development of agriculture. Soil microorganisms are a highly diverse group of living organisms in terms of genomic and phenotypic characteristics. Biodiversity is a crucial step towards finding new microorganisms important features. Microorganisms play an important role in the ecosystem of the soil and participate, among other items, in maintaining soil structure, humification, release of organic compounds, disposal of pollutants but also in the processes of transformation of organic matter. The competent state of soil microorganism communities, which consist of appropriate amounts, activity, and diversity, is a necessary condition for functioning of a highly complex system such as soil. In this issue, special attention will be paid to the importance of the biodiversity of soil microorganisms and their contribution to the improvement of soil quality and fertility. The role of microorganisms in the creation of a proper soil structure, in the circulation of elements, humus formation, production of substances stimulating plant growth, detoxification and bioremediation of harmful compounds will be presented. Due to such large diversity, it is important to find the appropriate methods which would provide the highest degree of microbial diversification. Genetic techniques are the tools which allow the analysis of the genetic variability of microorganisms. This technique allows multiplying specific sequences, usually corresponding to the fragments of the sequence of genomic DNA. Hence, undoubtedly an important aspect of the research is the selection and development of indicators to evaluate biodiversity microorganisms of soil and plants. This issue is meant to increase knowledge about the protection of natural resources, which are soils used for agricultural purposes. Intensive farming conducted for many years has brought many negative effects on the quality of cultivated soils; therefore, it is necessary to undertake some activities to improve them and to intensify the protection of soil resources. This issue will present selected molecular methods used for the diversification of microorganisms in soil and other environments.

Prof. Dr. Anna Gałązka
Dr. Agnieszka Wolińska
Dr. Vanessa Alvarez Lopez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Soil biodiversity
  • agricultural soil
  • metagenomics
  • soil microorganisms
  • tillage systems
  • cultivation of plants

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Effect of Forage Plant Mixture and Biostimulants Application on the Yield, Changes of Botanical Composition, and Microbiological Soil Activity
Agronomy 2021, 11(9), 1786; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11091786 - 07 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 941
Abstract
Recently, an increasing interest in such fertilizers and fertilization methods which not only directly supply nutrients to plants, but also stimulate soil bioactivity is noted. Their effect on both soil microbiota and forage plants has not been fully recognized. The aim of the [...] Read more.
Recently, an increasing interest in such fertilizers and fertilization methods which not only directly supply nutrients to plants, but also stimulate soil bioactivity is noted. Their effect on both soil microbiota and forage plants has not been fully recognized. The aim of the study was to investigate the combined effect of forage plant mixture type and mineral fertilizers (NPK) with biostimulants based on a marine algae extracts on the botanical composition, yield, the structure of selected taxonomic and trophic groups of soil microorganisms, and the soil enzymatic activity. During the years 2018–2019 a field experiment established in split-plot design with two different forage plant mixtures, as a first factor, and different fertilization basing on mineral fertilizers amended with biostimulants, as a second factor was conducted. Two types of forage mixtures of sown species were used: grass mixture (GM) and legume-grass mixture (LGM). Every year the following biostimulants were applied: N-14, PinKstart, Physiostart, Physioactive and they were compared with standard NPK fertilisation and no fertilisation as a control. The reaction of forage plant mixtures on applied fertilisation was different. The intensive development of grass species, mainly Lolium perenne, at the expense of Trifolium repens share in LGM was observed. In GM sward dominated Dactylis glomerata. A beneficial effects of biostimulants’ application on the biomass yields of both grass mixtures was observed. The systematic soil acidification and a decrease of soil enzymatic activity in result of applied fertilization, except NPK + Physioactive treatment (calcium fertilizer containing 76% calcium carbonate), was noted. Soil reaction to applied fertilisation was dependent on the botanical composition of the sward. The counts of microorganisms in the soil under LGM were almost two times higher than in the soil under GM. The most effective, in reducing the negative effect of nitrogen mineral fertilization on the pH of soil, was fertilization with NPK + Physioactiv. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protection of Biodiversity of Agricultural Soils)
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Article
The Effect of Biochar-Based Organic Amendments on the Structure of Soil Bacterial Community and Yield of Maize (Zea mays L.)
Agronomy 2021, 11(7), 1286; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11071286 - 24 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 985
Abstract
The taxonomic and functional diversity of bacteria in seven different experimental variants applied to soil under a maize plantation was determined by means of next-generation sequencing and biochemical methods. The aim of the study was to discover differences in the structure of bacteria [...] Read more.
The taxonomic and functional diversity of bacteria in seven different experimental variants applied to soil under a maize plantation was determined by means of next-generation sequencing and biochemical methods. The aim of the study was to discover differences in the structure of bacteria and the level of soil enzymatic activity (BIF—biochemical index of fertility) after the application of a biofertiliser made of lignocellulosic substrate and biochar containing various microorganisms (algae, mycorrhizal fungi of the Glomus genus or the consortium of Bacillus sp. bacteria). The chemical composition and yield of crops was a measurable indicator of the effectiveness of the fertilisers. The biofertilisers influenced both the structure and the percentage share of individual bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTU). The cultivation of maize also modified qualitative and quantitative changes in the soil bacterial microbiome. A canonical variate analysis (CVA) showed that the soil pH exhibited a minimal positive correlation with the soil enzymatic activity and selected plant parameters, with the exception of the biofertiliser variant with arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM). Moreover, the AM biofertiliser significantly increased the BIF value, the yield of maize seeds and the starch content in the plants. The comprehensive nature of the research allowed for a deepening and systematization of the existing knowledge on the influence of biochar with the addition of selected microorganisms on the biochemical parameters of the soil and the bacterial biodiversity of the soil environment. Additionally, the inclusion of the chemical, sanitary composition and yield of maize in the research brought a measurable view of the changes taking place in the soil and plant environment under the influence of the discussed factor. Apart from the agronomic aspect (integrated crop cultivation—Directive 2009/128/EC) of our study, it was also closely related to environmental protection, as it proved that biochar-based biofertilisers could be an alternative to mineral fertilisation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protection of Biodiversity of Agricultural Soils)
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Article
Chemical Properties and Bacterial Community Reaction to Acidified Cattle Slurry Fertilization in Soil from Maize Cultivation
Agronomy 2021, 11(3), 601; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11030601 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 925
Abstract
Acidified slurry is a novel organic fertilizer that limits gaseous ammonia emissions and reduces nitrogen losses. Our research aimed to determine the effects of short-term fertilization with acidified slurry on the chemical properties and bacterial community of soil used for maize cultivation. In [...] Read more.
Acidified slurry is a novel organic fertilizer that limits gaseous ammonia emissions and reduces nitrogen losses. Our research aimed to determine the effects of short-term fertilization with acidified slurry on the chemical properties and bacterial community of soil used for maize cultivation. In the months after spreading, raw slurry fertilization had a significant impact on the increase in values of N-NO3. In contrast, soil fertilized with acidified slurry had lower N-NO3 values when compared to raw slurry fertilization treatments. Bacterial sequencing using Illumina MiSeq showed no differences in the genetic diversity of bacterial communities. In all tested soil samples, dominants at the phylum level were Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Acidobacteria, while dominants at the class level were Actinobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Thermoleophilia, Gammaproteobacteria, and Acidimicrobiia. The values of biodiversity indices (Shannon index, Simpson index) in tested samples were similar. Our results suggest that short-term fertilization with acidified slurry does not adversely affect the biodiversity and structure of the bacterial communities and has a slight impact on soil chemical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protection of Biodiversity of Agricultural Soils)
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Review

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Review
The Significance of Microbial Transformation of Nitrogen Compounds in the Light of Integrated Crop Management
Agronomy 2021, 11(7), 1415; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11071415 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1095
Abstract
Nitrogen (N) is widely distributed in the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. It is a basic component of every plant cell as well as microorganisms, as a component of proteins, nucleic acids and chlorophyll. It enters soil with organic and mineral fertilizers, plant [...] Read more.
Nitrogen (N) is widely distributed in the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. It is a basic component of every plant cell as well as microorganisms, as a component of proteins, nucleic acids and chlorophyll. It enters soil with organic and mineral fertilizers, plant and animal residues and biological nitrogen fixation. There are various forms of nitrogen in soil, and this element is usually transformed by microorganisms. The transformation of nitrogen compounds (ammonification, nitrification and immobilization) is significantly influenced by climatic conditions and the physicochemical properties of soil. Microbial mineralization of nitrogen organic matter results in the enrichment of soil with this element, which is necessary to generate a yield. The amount of nitrogen entering soil through the mineralization of crop residues ranges from 15 to 45 kg N/ha in cereal residues and from 80 to 144 kg N/ha in winter rape residues. Biological nitrogen fixation can increase the nitrogen content in soil by 30–50 kg/ha/year. In recent decades, the mismanagement of mineral fertilizers has drastically changed the natural balance of the nitrogen cycle. Every year huge amounts of nitrogen compounds enter the aquatic ecosystems and cause their eutrophication. That is why it is important to have adequate knowledge of sustainable fertilization so as to practice integrated crop management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protection of Biodiversity of Agricultural Soils)
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Review
The Participation of Microbiota in the Transformation of Nitrogen Compounds in the Soil—A Review
Agronomy 2021, 11(5), 977; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050977 - 14 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1079
Abstract
Due to the growing costs of agricultural production and the need to protect the environment, there has been a need to intensify activities leading to an increase in the effectiveness of natural biological processes. These measures should increase the biodiversity of the environment, [...] Read more.
Due to the growing costs of agricultural production and the need to protect the environment, there has been a need to intensify activities leading to an increase in the effectiveness of natural biological processes. These measures should increase the biodiversity of the environment, enable the adaptation of microorganisms and the protection of plants and soils against the background of the concept of sustainable agricultural development. The soil is an important environment in which many elements are transformed, including nitrogen necessary for the proper yielding of plants. The aim of the article is to present the microbiological aspect of nitrogen transformation, starting with a review of historical findings and then to discuss the progress of the latest developments that have contributed to a detailed understanding of the biochemical reactions occurring during nitrogen transformation in soil. Moreover, the aim of the study is to present the current state of knowledge on the dynamics of nitrogen uptake and conversion by various species of microorganisms and the relationship between the activity of nitrogen microorganisms and nitrogen uptake by plants. The article also includes the latest information on the possibility of using microbiological biostimulants supporting plant growth (PGPR) and protection against the effects of phytopathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protection of Biodiversity of Agricultural Soils)
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Review
Environmental Factors Affecting the Mineralization of Crop Residues
Agronomy 2020, 10(12), 1951; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10121951 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 1521
Abstract
The aim of this article is to present the issues related to the significance of microorganisms in the mineralization of crop residues and the influence of environmental factors on the rate of this process. Crop residues play a very important role in agriculture [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to present the issues related to the significance of microorganisms in the mineralization of crop residues and the influence of environmental factors on the rate of this process. Crop residues play a very important role in agriculture because they can be used both as an environment-friendly waste management strategy and as a means of improving soil organic matter. The inclusion of crop residues in the soil requires appropriate management strategies that support crop production and protect the quality of surface water and groundwater. Crops need nutrients for high yields; however, they can only absorb ionic forms of elements. At this point, the microorganisms that convert organically bound nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur into soluble NH4+, NO3, H2PO4, HPO42−, and SO42− ions are helpful. Mineralization is the transformation of organic compounds into inorganic ones, which is a biological process that depends on temperature, rainfall, soil properties, the chemical composition of crop residues, the structure and composition of microbial communities, and the C:N ratio in soil after the application of plant matter. An adjustment of the values of these factors enables us to determine the rate and direction of the mineralization of crop residues in soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protection of Biodiversity of Agricultural Soils)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Invasiveness and morphometry of the wild entomopathogenic nematodes Steinernema feltiae (Filipjev) isolated from selected agrocenoses

Joanna Matuska - Łyżwa1, Barbara Gworek2, Ilona Żeber-Dzikowska3, Jarosław Chmielewski4, Ewa Beata Górska5, Dariusz Gozdowski5, Lidia Sas-Paszt6, Wojciech Stępień5, Anna Lisek6, Beata Sumorok6

1Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, 7 Uniwersytecka Str., 25-406 Kielce, Poland

2 Institute of Environmental Protection – National Research Institute, 5/11D Krucza Str., 00-548 Warsaw, Poland

3Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, 15 Świętokrzyska Str., 25-406 Kielce, Poland

4College of Rehabilitation, 46 Kasprzaka Str., 01-234 Warsaw,

5Warsaw University of Life Sciences, 166 Nowoursynowska Str., 02-787 Warsaw, Poland,

6Research Institute of Horticulture, 3 Maja 1/3 Str., 96-100 Skierniewice, Poland

 Corresponding author: [email protected]

 

Abstract: Steinernema feltiae is the most common species of entomopathogenic nematodes in Poland. The nematodes tested in this work were wild isolates, that were obtained from surface soil samples taken from selected agrocenoses. The research areas were located in the Koniecpol commune (Śląskie Voivodeship, Poland) and the Włoszczowa commune (Świętokrzyskie province, Poland). Features of the wild nematodes were comparing with nematodes isolated from Owinema bio-preparation (which contains larvae of the nematode Steinernema feltiae - selected ScP strain, Owiplant, Owińska). Nematodes were isolated by the "trap insects" method using Galleria mellonella caterpillars. The experiment was carried out at 20°C, and the applied dose of nematodes was 50 IJ per insect. Studies have shown that the invasiveness of wild entomopathogenic nematode isolates is variable. The isolate from Koniecpol showed lower insecticidal abilities than the isolate from Włoszczowa. It has been proved that the rate of development and extensiveness of the invasion of nematodes harvested from the Włoszczowa area are the same as those of nematodes derived from the biopreparation. The demonstrated insecticidal variability of wild nematode isolates correlates with the morphometric parameters tested, which differ significantly.

Keywords: entomopathogenic nematodes, Steinernema feltiae, invasiveness, morphometry

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