Response of Soil Properties and Microbial Communities to Increasing Salinization in the Meadow Grassland of Northeast China.

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Response of Soil Properties and Microbial Communities to Increasing Salinization in the Meadow Grassland of Northeast China.

Microb Ecol. 2021 Jan 29;:

Authors: Cao C, Tao S, Cui Z, Zhang Y

Abstract
Secondary salinization is a serious environmental issue and a major threat to the sustainable use of grasslands. Information about the response of microbial communities and soil properties in already saline soils to increasing salinity is lacking. We investigated soil properties and the structures of soil bacterial and fungal communities across a gradient of salinization in the Horqin Grassland, China. Three sites with relatively lightly (average soluble salt content = 0.11%), relatively moderately (average soluble salt content = 0.44%), and heavily (average soluble salt content = 1.07%) degraded grassland, were selected as experimental sites. We examined variations in the composition and structure of the soil bacterial and fungal communities by using high-throughput sequencing of the 16S and 18S rRNA genes, respectively. We found degrading effects of salinization on soil properties, i.e., decreased soil moisture, organic matter, total N, NH4-N, and NO3-N and increased soil bulk density, pH, and electrical conductivity. The bacterial and fungal community structures changed with increasing salinity. However, dominant microbial taxa (including phylum, genus, and operational taxonomic unit levels) were similar among experimental sites, indicating that increasing salinization slightly affected the basic compositions of microbial communities in already saline grasslands. Furthermore, the relative abundances of most dominant taxa sensitively responded to the soil salt content. Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Chloroflexi, RB4, Rubrobacter, Blastocatella, H16, Glomeromycota, and Aspergillus linearly increased with increasing salinization, suggesting that they could be used as bioindicators for salt-tolerant communities. Overall, the changes in the structures of soil bacterial and fungal communities were determined by the relative quantities of dominant taxa rather than community composition. The structures of soil bacterial and fungal communities were linked to soil properties and vegetation. Increasing soil salt content, and thereby varied pH and organic matter, were likely the direct influencing factors of microbial communities in these saline grasslands.

PMID: 33511437 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Source: Industry