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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Long-term use of green manure legume and chemical fertiliser affect soil bacterial community structures but not the rate of soil nitrate decrease when excess carbon and nitrogen are applied

Misato Toda A and Yoshitaka Uchida B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Kita 9, Nishi 9, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-8589, Japan.

B Research Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Kita 9, Nishi 9, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-8589, Japan.

C Corresponding author. Email: uchiday@chem.agr.hokudai.ac.jp

Soil Research 55(6) 524-533 https://doi.org/10.1071/SR17109
Submitted: 17 April 2017  Accepted: 2 June 2017   Published: 13 July 2017

Abstract

Legumes add not only nitrogen (N), but also carbon (C) to soils, so their effects on the soil microbial community may be different from those of chemical fertiliser. Soil microbes often compete with plants for N when excess C is applied due to their increased N immobilisation potentials and denitrification. In the present study we evaluated the effects of the 9-year use of a green manure legume (hairy vetch; Vicia villosa) in a greenhouse tomato system on soil microbial community structures as well as on the decrease of nitrate when rice straw was incorporated into the soil. Soil microbial community structures and their diversity were altered by the long-term use of legumes. The ratios of Acidobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes and Proteobacteria increased in the hairy vetch soils. The rates of decrease in nitrate were similar in soils with a history of chemical fertiliser and hairy vetch, following the addition of rice straw. In addition, during incubation with added rice straw, the difference between the two soil microbial community structures became less clear within 2 weeks. Thus, we conclude that even though growing a green manure legume changed soil bacterial community structures, this did not result in relatively faster loss of available N for plants when rice straw was added to the soils.

Additional keywords: 16S rRNA, microbial biomass carbon.


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