Diversity and structure of prokaryotic communities within organic and conventional farming systems in central highlands of Kenya.
ABSTRACT: Management practices such as tillage, crop rotation, irrigation, organic and inorganic inputs application are known to influence diversity and function of soil microbial populations. In this study, we investigated the effect of conventional versus organic farming systems at low and high input levels on structure and diversity of prokaryotic microbial communities. Soil samples were collected from the ongoing long-term farming system comparison trials established in 2007 at Chuka and Thika in Kenya. Physicochemical parameters for each sample were analyzed. Total DNA and RNA amplicons of variable region (V4-V7) of the 16S rRNA gene were generated on an Illumina platform using the manufacturer's instructions. Diversity indices and statistical analysis were done using QIIME2 and R packages, respectively. A total of 29,778,886 high quality reads were obtained and assigned to 16,176 OTUs at 97% genetic distance across both 16S rDNA and 16S rRNA cDNA datasets. The results pointed out a histrionic difference in OTUs based on 16S rDNA and 16S rRNA cDNA. Precisely, while 16S rDNA clustered by site, 16S rRNA cDNA clustered by farming systems. In both sites and systems, dominant phylotypes were affiliated to phylum Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria. Conventional farming systems showed a higher species richness and diversity compared to organic farming systems, whilst 16S rRNA cDNA datasets were similar. Physiochemical factors were associated differently depending on rRNA and rDNA. Soil pH, electrical conductivity, organic carbon, nitrogen, potassium, aluminium, zinc, iron, boron and micro-aggregates showed a significant influence on the observed microbial diversity. The observed higher species diversity in the conventional farming systems can be attributed to the integration of synthetic and organic agricultural inputs. These results show that the type of inputs used in a farming system not only affect the soil chemistry but also the microbial population dynamics and eventually the functional roles of these microbes.
Project description:Organic farming system and sustainable management of soil pathogens aim at reducing the use of agricultural chemicals in order to improve ecosystem health. Despite the essential role of microbial communities in agro-ecosystems, we still have limited understanding of the complex response of microbial diversity and composition to organic and conventional farming systems and to alternative methods for controlling plant pathogens. In this study we assessed the microbial community structure, diversity and richness using 16S rRNA gene next generation sequences and report that conventional and organic farming systems had major influence on soil microbial diversity and community composition while the effects of the soil health treatments (sustainable alternatives for chemical control) in both farming systems were of smaller magnitude. Organically managed system increased taxonomic and phylogenetic richness, diversity and heterogeneity of the soil microbiota when compared with conventional farming system. The composition of microbial communities, but not the diversity nor heterogeneity, were altered by soil health treatments. Soil health treatments exhibited an overrepresentation of specific microbial taxa which are known to be involved in soil suppressiveness to pathogens (plant-parasitic nematodes and soil-borne fungi). Our results provide a comprehensive survey on the response of microbial communities to different agricultural systems and to soil treatments for controlling plant pathogens and give novel insights to improve the sustainability of agro-ecosystems by means of beneficial microorganisms.
Project description:Lake Magadi and little Magadi are hypersaline, alkaline lakes situated in the southern part of Kenyan Rift Valley. Solutes are supplied mainly by a series of alkaline hot springs with temperatures as high as 86 °C. Previous culture-dependent and culture-independent studies have revealed diverse groups of microorganisms thriving under these conditions. Previous culture independent studies were based on the analysis of 16S rDNA but were done on less saline lakes. For the first time, this study combined illumina sequencing and analysis of amplicons of both total community rDNA and 16S rRNA cDNA to determine the diversity and community structure of bacteria and archaea within 3 hot springs of L. Magadi and little Magadi.Water, wet sediments and microbial mats were collected from springs in the main lake at a temperature of 45.1 °C and from Little Magadi "Nasikie eng'ida" (temperature of 81 °C and 83.6 °C). Total community DNA and RNA were extracted from samples using phenol-chloroform and Trizol RNA extraction protocols respectively. The 16S rRNA gene variable region (V4 - V7) of the extracted DNA and RNA were amplified and library construction performed following Illumina sequencing protocol. Sequences were analyzed done using QIIME while calculation of Bray-Curtis dissimilarities between datasets, hierarchical clustering, Non Metric Dimensional Scaling (NMDS) redundancy analysis (RDA) and diversity indices were carried out using the R programming language and the Vegan package.Three thousand four hundred twenty-six and one thousand nine hundred thirteen OTUs were recovered from 16S rDNA and 16S rRNA cDNA respectively. Uncultured diversity accounted for 89.35 % 16S rDNA and 87.61 % 16S rRNA cDNA reads. The most abundant phyla in both the 16S rDNA and 16S rRNA cDNA datasets included: Proteobacteria (8.33-50 %), Firmicutes 3.52-28.92 %, Bacteroidetes (3.45-26.44 %), Actinobacteria (0.98-28.57 %) and Euryarchaeota (3.55-34.48 %) in all samples. NMDS analyses of taxonomic composition clustered the taxa into three groups according to sample types (i.e. wet sediments, mats and water samples) with evident overlap of clusters between wet sediments and microbial mats from the three sample types in both DNA and cDNA datasets. The hot spring (45.1 °C) contained less diverse populations compared to those in Little Magadi (81-83 °C).There were significant differences in microbial community structure at 95 % level of confidence for both total diversity (P value, 0.009) based on 16S rDNA analysis and active microbial diversity (P value, 0.01) based on 16S rRNA cDNA analysis, within the three hot springs. Differences in microbial composition and structure were observed as a function of sample type and temperature, with wet sediments harboring the highest diversity.
Project description:Soil microbes have critical influence on the productivity and sustainability of agricultural ecosystems, yet the magnitude and direction to which management practices affect the soil microbial community remain unclear. This work aimed to examine the impacts of three farming systems, conventional grain cropping (CON), organic grain cropping (ORG), and grain cropping-pasture rotation (ICL), on the soil microbial community structure and putative gene abundances of N transformations using high-throughput 16S rRNA gene and ITS sequencing approaches. Two additional systems, a forest plantation (PF) and an abandoned agricultural field subject to natural succession (SUC), were also included for better assessment of the soil microbial community in terms of variation scale and regulatory importance of management intensity vs. plant type. Farming systems significantly affected the biodiversity of soil fungi but not bacteria, with Shannon index being the lowest in ORG. Bacterial and fungal communities in three cropping systems clustered and separated from those in PF and SUC, suggesting that management practices as such played minor roles in shaping the soil microbial community compared to plant type (i.e., woody vs. herbaceous plants). However, management practices prominently regulated habitat-specific taxa. Lecanoromycetes, a class of Ascomycota accounted for ?10% of total fungal population in ORG, but almost nil in the other four systems. ORG also enriched bacteria belonging to the phyla, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, and Gemmatimonadetes. Further, PICRUSt predicted that N-cycle community compositions varied with farming systems; compared to CON, ORG and ICL were more divergent from PF and SUC. Soil pH, together with inorganic N, extractable organic C, and soil organic C:N ratio explained < 50% of the total variations in both bacterial and fungal communities. Our data indicates that while moderately affecting the overall structure of the soil microbial community, management practices, particularly fertilization and the source of N (synthetic vs. organic), were important in regulating the presence and abundance of habitat-specific taxa.
Project description:Soil microorganisms are essential to agroecosystem functioning and services. Yet, we still lack information on which farming practices can effectively shape the soil microbial communities. The aim of this study was to identify the farming practices, which are most effective at positively or negatively modifying bacterial and fungal diversity while considering the soil environmental variation at a landscape scale. A long-term research study catchment (12 km2 ) representative of intensive mixed farming (livestock and crop) in Western Europe was investigated using a regular grid for soil sampling (n = 186). Farming systems on this landscape scale were described in terms of crop rotation, use of fertilizer, soil tillage, pesticides treatments, and liming. Molecular microbial biomass was estimated by soil DNA recovery. Bacterial and fungal communities were analyzed by 16S and 18S rRNA gene pyrosequencing. Microbial biomass was significantly stimulated by the presence of pasture during the crop rotation since temporary and permanent pastures, as compared to annual crops, increased the soil microbial biomass by +23% and +93% respectively. While soil properties (mainly pH) explained much of the variation in bacterial diversity, soil tillage seemed to be the most influential among the farming practices. A 2.4% increase in bacterial richness was observed along our gradient of soil tillage intensity. In contrast, farming practices were the predominant drivers of fungal diversity, which was mainly determined by the presence of pastures during the crop rotation. Compared to annual crops, temporary and permanent pastures increased soil fungal richness by +10% and +14.5%, respectively. Altogether, our landscape-scale investigation allows the identification of farming practices that can effectively shape the soil microbial abundance and diversity, with the goal to improve agricultural soil management and soil ecological integrity.
Project description:BACKGROUND: To convert deserts into arable, green landscapes is a global vision, and desert farming is a strong growing area of agriculture world-wide. However, its effect on diversity of soil microbial communities, which are responsible for important ecosystem services like plant health, is still not known. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We studied the impact of long-term agriculture on desert soil in one of the most prominent examples for organic desert farming in Sekem (Egypt). Using a polyphasic methodological approach to analyse microbial communities in soil as well as associated with cultivated plants, drastic effects caused by 30 years of agriculture were detected. Analysing bacterial fingerprints, we found statistically significant differences between agricultural and native desert soil of about 60%. A pyrosequencing-based analysis of the 16S rRNA gene regions showed higher diversity in agricultural than in desert soil (Shannon diversity indices: 11.21/7.90), and displayed structural differences. The proportion of Firmicutes in field soil was significantly higher (37%) than in the desert (11%). Bacillus and Paenibacillus play the key role: they represented 96% of the antagonists towards phytopathogens, and identical 16S rRNA sequences in the amplicon library and for isolates were detected. The proportion of antagonistic strains was doubled in field in comparison to desert soil (21.6%/12.4%); disease-suppressive bacteria were especially enriched in plant roots. On the opposite, several extremophilic bacterial groups, e.g., Acidimicrobium, Rubellimicrobium and Deinococcus-Thermus, disappeared from soil after agricultural use. The N-fixing Herbaspirillum group only occurred in desert soil. Soil bacterial communities were strongly driven by the a-biotic factors water supply and pH. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: After long-term farming, a drastic shift in the bacterial communities in desert soil was observed. Bacterial communities in agricultural soil showed a higher diversity and a better ecosystem function for plant health but a loss of extremophilic bacteria. Interestingly, we detected that indigenous desert microorganisms promoted plant health in desert agro-ecosystems.
Project description:It has been debated how different farming systems influence the composition of soil bacterial communities, which are crucial for maintaining soil health. In this research, we applied high-throughput pyrosequencing of V1 to V3 regions of bacterial 16S rRNA genes to gain further insight into how organic and conventional farming systems and crop rotation influence bulk soil bacterial communities. A 2×2 factorial experiment consisted of two agriculture management systems (organic versus conventional) and two crop rotations (flax-oat-fababean-wheat versus flax-alfalfa-alfalfa-wheat) was conducted at the Glenlea Long-Term Crop Rotation and Management Station, which is Canada's oldest organic-conventional management study field. Results revealed that there is a significant difference in the composition of bacterial genera between organic and conventional management systems but crop rotation was not a discriminator factor. Organic farming was associated with higher relative abundance of Proteobacteria, while Actinobacteria and Chloroflexi were more abundant in conventional farming. The dominant genera including Blastococcus, Microlunatus, Pseudonocardia, Solirubrobacter, Brevundimonas, Pseudomonas, and Stenotrophomonas exhibited significant variation between the organic and conventional farming systems. The relative abundance of bacterial communities at the phylum and class level was correlated to soil pH rather than other edaphic properties. In addition, it was found that Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria were more sensitive to pH variation.
Project description:Soil-borne diseases are often less severe in organic farms, possibly because of the recruitment of beneficial microorganisms by crops. Here, the suppressiveness of organic, integrated, and conventionally managed soils to pepper blight (Phytophthora capsici) was studied in growth chamber experiments. Disease incidence was 41.3 and 34.1% lower in the soil from an organic farming system than in either the soil from the integrated or from the conventional farming systems, respectively. Beta-diversity of rhizospheric microbial communities differed among treatments, with enrichment of Bacillus, Sporosarcina, Acidobacteria Gp5, Gp6, Gp22, and Ignavibacterium by the organic soil. Cultivation-dependent analysis indicated that 50.3% of in vitro antagonists of P. capsici isolated from the rhizosphere of healthy peppers were affiliated to Bacillus. An integration of in vitro antagonists and bacterial diversity analyses indicated that Bacillus antagonists were higher in the rhizosphere of pepper treated by the organic soil. A microbial consortium of 18 in vitro Bacillus antagonists significantly increased the suppressiveness of soil from the integrated farming system against pepper blight. Overall, the soil microbiome under the long-term organic farming system was more suppressive to pepper blight, possibly owing to Bacillus antagonism in the rhizosphere. This study provided insights into microbiome management for disease suppression under greenhouse conditions.
Project description:Organic greenhouse farming is an innovative system that may maintain a high yield and healthy agroecosystem. There have been no rigorous studies on the comparison of total and nitrogen-cycling bacterial community in vegetable soils between organic and conventional farming management at large scale. A survey of bacterial community and nitrogen cycles from soils under organic and conventional greenhouse farming was performed at 30 sites, covering seven soil types with 4 to 18 years of organic farming history. Communities of the total, diazotrophs and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria were studied with high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA, nifH and amoA genes, respectively. Organic greenhouse farming did not influence alpha diversities. Beta diversities among the total (26/30) and diazotrophic (17/19) bacteria differed between farming systems, but compositional differences in ammonia-oxidizing bacteria between the two farming systems were only detected at 6 sites. Despite the effects of farming system on most bacterial genera were varied across different sites, organic greenhouse farming persistently selected for a few genera, possibly for the biodegradation of organic carbon with high molecular weight (Hyphomicrobium, Rubinisphaera, Aciditerrimonas, Planifilum, Phaselicystis, and Ohtaekwangia), but against putative ammonia oxidizing (Nitrosospira, Nitrosopumilus) and diazotrophic (Bradyrhizobium) bacterial genera, as determined by 16S rRNA analysis. Diazotrophic bacteria affiliated with nifH cluster 1J were preferentially associated with organic greenhouse farming, in contrast to Paenibacillus borealis. In summary, this study provides insights into the complex effects of organic greenhouse farming on the total, diazotrophic and ammonia oxidizing bacterial communities across different environmental context.
Project description:Population growth and climate change challenge our food and farming systems and provide arguments for an increased intensification of agriculture. A promising option is eco-functional intensification through organic farming, an approach based on using and enhancing internal natural resources and processes to secure and improve agricultural productivity, while minimizing negative environmental impacts. In this concept an active soil microbiota plays an important role for various soil based ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, erosion control and pest and disease regulation. Several studies have reported a positive effect of organic farming on soil health and quality including microbial community traits. However, so far no systematic quantification of whether organic farming systems comprise larger and more active soil microbial communities compared to conventional farming systems was performed on a global scale. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis on current literature to quantify possible differences in key indicators for soil microbial abundance and activity in organic and conventional cropping systems. All together we integrated data from 56 mainly peer-reviewed papers into our analysis, including 149 pairwise comparisons originating from different climatic zones and experimental duration ranging from 3 to more than 100 years. Overall, we found that organic systems had 32% to 84% greater microbial biomass carbon, microbial biomass nitrogen, total phospholipid fatty-acids, and dehydrogenase, urease and protease activities than conventional systems. Exclusively the metabolic quotient as an indicator for stresses on microbial communities remained unaffected by the farming systems. Categorical subgroup analysis revealed that crop rotation, the inclusion of legumes in the crop rotation and organic inputs are important farming practices affecting soil microbial community size and activity. Furthermore, we show that differences in microbial size and activity between organic and conventional farming systems vary as a function of land use (arable, orchards, and grassland), plant life cycle (annual and perennial) and climatic zone. In summary, this study shows that overall organic farming enhances total microbial abundance and activity in agricultural soils on a global scale.
Project description:One of the most important challenges in agriculture is to determine the effectiveness and environmental impact of certain farming practices. The aim of present study was to determine and compare the taxonomic composition of the microbiomes established in soil following long-term exposure (14 years) to a conventional and organic farming systems (CFS and OFS accordingly). Soil from unclared forest next to the fields was used as a control. The analysis was based on RT-PCR and pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes of bacteria and archaea. The number of bacteria was significantly lower in CFS than in OFS and woodland. The highest amount of archaea was detected in woodland, whereas the amounts in CFS and OFS were lower and similar. The most common phyla in the soil microbial communities analyzed were Proteobacteria (57.9%), Acidobacteria (16.1%), Actinobacteria (7.9%), Verrucomicrobia (2.0%), Bacteroidetes (2.7%) and Firmicutes (4.8%). Woodland soil differed from croplands in the taxonomic composition of microbial phyla. Croplands were enriched with Proteobacteria (mainly the genus Pseudomonas), while Acidobacteria were detected almost exclusively in woodland soil. The most pronounced differences between the CFS and OFS microbiomes were found within the genus Pseudomonas, which significantly (p<0,05) increased its number in CFS soil compared to OFS. Other differences in microbiomes of cropping systems concerned minor taxa. A higher relative abundance of bacteria belonging to the families Oxalobacteriaceae, Koribacteriaceae, Nakamurellaceae and genera Ralstonia, Paenibacillus and Pedobacter was found in CFS as compared with OFS. On the other hand, microbiomes of OFS were enriched with proteobacteria of the family Comamonadaceae (genera Hylemonella) and Hyphomicrobiaceae, actinobacteria from the family Micrococcaceae, and bacteria of the genera Geobacter, Methylotenera, Rhizobium (mainly Rhizobium leguminosarum) and Clostridium. Thus, the fields under OFS and CFS did not differ greatly for the composition of the microbiome. These results, which were also confirmed by cluster analysis, indicated that microbial communities in the field soil do not necessarily differ largely between conventional and organic farming systems.