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Forbs differentially affect soil microbial community composition and functions in unfertilized ryegrass-red clover leys

Cong, WF and Eriksen, J (2018) Forbs differentially affect soil microbial community composition and functions in unfertilized ryegrass-red clover leys. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 121, pp. 87-94.

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Online at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2018.03.008

Summary

Increasing plant diversity in agroecosystems is proposed to enhance multiple ecosystem services. Adding selected forbs such as caraway (Carum carvi L.) and plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) to productive grass-clover mixtures can further enhance forage yields, root biomass, uptake of mineral nutrients and improve animal performance. Yet, it remains unclear whether and how adding these forbs to grass-clover mixtures can influence soil microbial communities and associated soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling. Based on a three-year grassland experiment varying in species diversity and composition with and without fertilizer application, we determined soil microbial community composition and functions related to C and N cycling under laboratory incubations. Results showed that inclusion of caraway modified soil microbial community composition by enhancing fungal-to-bacterial phospholipid fatty acids of the ryegrass-red clover mixture. Adding plantain to the ryegrass-red clover mixture increased the relative decomposition rate of the labile C pool, but not of the recalcitrant C pool. Yet, β-glucosidase activity and net N mineralization were unchanged due to inclusion of either forb. Moreover, fertilization with cattle slurry generally weakened these forb-induced changes in soil microbial properties. These findings demonstrate that adding selected forbs to unfertilized grass-clover leys can modify soil microbial community composition and associated C and N cycling, implying a potential for promoting long-term soil C sequestration through enhanced fungi-to-bacteria ratio, but a limited role in improving soil N fertility.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Caraway; Fertilization; Forage mixtures; Nitrogen mineralization; Plantain; Soil carbon dynamics
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Crop combinations and interactions
Soil > Nutrient turnover
Research affiliation: Denmark > Organic RDD 2 > MultiPlant
DOI:10.1016/j.soilbio.2018.03.008
Deposited By: Eriksen, Senior scientist Jørgen
ID Code:32975
Deposited On:14 May 2018 12:58
Last Modified:14 May 2018 12:58
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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