Plant and Soil

, Volume 330, Issue 1–2, pp 423–433 | Cite as

Effect of monoculture soybean on soil microbial community in the Northeast China

  • Chunge Li
  • Xiaoming Li
  • Weidong Kong
  • Ying Wu
  • Jingguo Wang
Regular Article


Monoculture (MC) soybean, a common practice in the Northeast China, causes significant declines in soybean yield and quality. The objective of this study was to evaluate the responses of the soil microbial community and soybean yield to different soybean cropping systems. Three cropping systems were compared, (1) corn-soybean rotation (corn-corn-soybean, CS), (2) MC soybean for 3 years (S3), (3) MC soybean for 9 years (S9). Both bulk and rhizosphere soil samples were collected at three growth stages: two trifoliate (V2), full bloom (R2), and full seed (R6), respectively. Soil microbial DNA was analyzed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)—denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) to assess changes in composition of bacterial and fungal communities. Prominent DGGE bands were excised and sequenced to gain insight into the identities of the predominant microbial populations. Some prominent differences were observed in bacterial DGGE patterns of amplified 16S rDNA (V3 region) among rhizosphere soils. These major differences included one DGGE band (showing 100% similarity to Arthrobacter sp.) that was enriched at R2 stages in CS and S9, and another band with 97% sequence similarity to an uncultured actinobacterium was detected at R6 stage in CS, and at R2 and R6 stages in S9. The bacterial community from bulk soil showed no significant band change in DGGE patterns among different cropping systems. In fungal DGGE patterns of the amplified 18S rDNA partial fragment, one specific band (showing 98% similarity to Trichoderma viride) occurred in rhizosphere soil of treatment CS at V2 and R6 stages and treatment S9 at R6 stage. None of the above bands were detected in treatment S3. The soybean yields and plant heights from CS and S9 were greater than those from S3. Moreover, catalase activities from CS and S9 at V2 and R2 stages were higher than those tested from S3 at the corresponding times in rhizosphere soil. The present results showed that DGGE patterns were not able to detect significant differences in diversity or evenness among microbial communities, but significant differences were found in the composition of bacterial and fungal community structures. Some distinguished bands from bacterial and fungal DGGE patterns were only enriched in CS and S9 soil, which could potentially play an important role in soybean growth development.


Monoculture soybean Microbial community DGGE Cloning Yield 



This study was financially supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China under grant numbers 30270768 and 30821003, and by a special fund for agricultural profession (No. 200803030). We warmly thank Mrs. Yufeng Wang, Mr. Bin Sun, and Mr. Lei Sun for field work. The authors also gratefully acknowledge Dr. Andreas Westphal and Miss Jenna M Dolhi for valuable comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chunge Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaoming Li
    • 3
  • Weidong Kong
    • 4
  • Ying Wu
    • 3
  • Jingguo Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.MOE laboratory of Plant-Soil Interaction and College of Resources and Environmental SciencesChina agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Botany and Plant PathologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Soil and Fertilizer Research InstituteHeilongjiang Academy of Agricultural SciencesHarbinChina
  4. 4.Department of AgronomyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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