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Soil microbial communities under film mulching and N fertilization in semiarid farmland

  • Luo, Shasha1
  • Wang, Shaojie2
  • Yao, Pengwei3
  • Guo, Dan2
  • Li, Xiujun1
  • Li, Shiqing4
  • Tian, Chunjie1
  • 1 Chinese Academy of Sciences, Key Laboratory of Mollisols Agroecology, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Changchun, 130102, People’s Republic of China , Changchun (China)
  • 2 Jilin Agricultural University, College of Resources and Environment, Changchun, 130118, People’s Republic of China , Changchun (China)
  • 3 Henan Agricultural University, College of Tobacco Sciences, Zhengzhou, 450002, People’s Republic of China , Zhengzhou (China)
  • 4 Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resource, State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Yangling, 712100, People’s Republic of China , Yangling (China)
Published Article
Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
May 04, 2019
DOI: 10.1007/s10705-019-09998-9
Springer Nature


Film mulching and N fertilization can affect soil physicochemical properties, thereby improving plant growth, and may in turn affect soil microbial communities. Therefore, a 2-year field experiment was conducted to research the effects of film mulching and N fertilization on soil microbial communities. The four main treatments were N0F0, N0F1, N1F0, and N1F1, combining two N fertilizer rates (N0, 0 kg N ha−1; N1, 225 kg N ha−1) and two mulching methods (F0, no mulching; F1, film mulching) in the absence and presence of plants. The film mulching treatments significantly increased the mean temperature by 0.2 °C and decreased the soil organic carbon (SOC), mineral N and water soluble organic C by 5.6%, 35.5% and 24.0%, respectively. The N fertilization treatments significantly increased the mineral N, water soluble organic N and KMnO4-oxidizable C by 117.9%, 256.4% and 55.3%, respectively. Additionally, the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis of the soil microbial community revealed that the film mulching treatments significantly decreased the total PLFAs by 21.5% and the absolute abundance of fungi (F), bacteria (B), and actinomycetes by 26.7%, 23.1% and 24.6%, respectively. N fertilization significantly decreased the Gram-positive B/Gram-negative B ratio by 9.8%. Film mulching combining N fertilization significantly decreased the F/B ratio by 10.0%. Temperature (P < 0.001) and SOC/total P (P < 0.001) were confirmed to play significant roles in shaping the soil microbial community. Accordingly, short-term film mulching increases soil organic matter decomposition in the top soil and decreases the total soil microbial biomass and most microbial communities.

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