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Responses of soil microbiome to nitrogen input on eroded slope farmland in Southwest China
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  • Guiru Zhao,
  • * Tongxin,
  • Zhiwei Fan,
  • Kaixian Wu,
  • Kai Lv,
  • Feng Zhou,
  • Bozhi Wu,
  • Michael Fullen
Guiru Zhao
Yunnan Agricultural University
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* Tongxin
Yunnan Agricultural University
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Zhiwei Fan
Kunming University
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Kaixian Wu
Moutai Institute
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Kai Lv
Yunnan Agricultural University
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Feng Zhou
Yunnan Agricultural University
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Bozhi Wu
Yunnan Agricultural University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Michael Fullen
University of Wolverhampton Faculty of Science and Engineering
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Abstract

Context or problem: Maintaining soil productivity and sustainability remains a challenge in the face of a changing global agricultural framework, which includes the primary threat of soil degradation in many regions. Objective: Although soil erosion contributes to land degradation, how reductions in fertiliser nitrogen (N) affect erosion and soil microbial communities in sloped farmland remains unclear. Methods: In this study, effects of reductions in fertiliser N from 300 kg ha −1 (N1) to 225 kg ha −1 (N2), 150 kg ha −1 (N3), and 75 kg ha −1 (N4) on runoff and sediment yield and microbial communities were evaluated in maize farmland with a 10° slope in Southwest China. Soil chemical properties were analyzed, and bacterial 16S rRNA and fungal ITS1 were sequenced from extracted DNA. Results: Runoff and sediment yield in maize were significantly lower in N1 and N2 than in N3 and N4 ( P < 0.05). Compared with light erosion (N1 and N2), severe erosion (N3 and N4) lowered microbial diversity and network complexity, with fewer associations among taxa. The severe erosion associated with reductions in N input resulted in significant decreases in abundances of bacterial phyla Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Gemmatimonadetes, Firmicutes, and Nitrospirae and fungal phyla Basidiomycota, Mortierellomycota, and Olpidiomycota. By contrast, abundances of the phyla Acidobacteria (bacteria) and Ascomycota and Glomeromycota (fungi) increased significantly with severe erosion. Distance-based redundancy analysis indicated that cation exchange capacity, organic matter, and nitrate strongly influenced structure of bacterial and fungal communities. Conclusions: Thus, reductions greater than 25% in N fertiliser (N3 and N4) did not meet crop N requirements, and because of the reduction in surface coverage, soil erosion was exacerbated, and soil fertility and diversity and complexity of microbial communities decreased. Implications: The results elucidated effects of N input on soil erosion and soil microbiomes in a sloped agroecosystem with the aim to rehabilitate or restore degraded land and increase sustainable ecoagriculture development.