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Long-term fertilization and tillage regimes have limited effects on structuring bacterial and denitrifier communities in a sandy loam UK soil

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Julia Cooper



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Denitrification causes loss of available nitrogen from soil systems, thereby reducing crop productivity and increasing reliance on agrochemicals. The dynamics of denitrification and denitrifying communities are thought to be altered by land management practices, which affect the physicochemical properties of the soil. In this study, we look at the effects of long-term tillage and fertilization regimes on arable soils following 16 years of treatment in a factorial field trial. By studying the bacterial community composition based on 16S rRNA amplicons, absolute bacterial abundance and diversity of denitrification functional genes (nirK, nirS and nosZ), under conditions of minimum/conventional tillage and organic/synthetic mineral fertilizer, we tested how specific land management histories affect the diversity and distribution of both bacteria and denitrification genes. Bacterial and denitrifier communities were largely unaffected by land management history and clustered predominantly by spatial location, indicating that the variability in bacterial community composition in these arable soils is governed by innate environmental differences and Euclidean distance rather than agricultural management intervention.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Moulton-Brown CE, Feng T, Kumar SS, Xu L, Dytham C, Helgason T, Cooper JM, Moir JWB

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Microbiology

Year: 2022

Volume: 24

Issue: 1

Pages: 298-308

Print publication date: 01/01/2022

Online publication date: 16/12/2021

Acceptance date: 08/12/2021

Date deposited: 12/01/2022

ISSN (print): 1462-2912

ISSN (electronic): 1462-2920

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.15873


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