Impacts of waterlogging on soil nitrification and ammonia-oxidizing communities in farming system
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Background and aims
Waterlogging may affect soil nitrification rates, resulting in changes in plant-available nitrogen (N), and hence potentially influencing crop productivity. Because nitrification is a microbially-driven process and ammonia-oxidizing communities regulate soil nitrification rates, the aim of this study was to investigate the mechanistic response of ammonia-oxidizing communities and nitrification rates to waterlogging.
A field study was conducted by experimentally imposing two short-term waterlogging events when cotton plants were at the early- and late-flowering stages. Soil physicochemical properties, nitrification rates, and ammonia-oxidizing community abundance and structure in response to waterlogging were examined.
Soil nitrate (NO3−) content, potential nitrification rates (PNR) and the abundance of ammonia-oxidizing communities significantly decreased upon waterlogging. Shifts in ammonia-oxidizing community structure were also observed. Both ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) responded to waterlogging. PNR was significantly correlated with the abundance and structure of both AOB and AOA.
Waterlogging had strong negative effects on soil nitrification rates by altering the ammonia-oxidizing community abundance and structure, resulting in reduced soil N availability. Decreased plant-available N is likely to negatively affect primary productivity.
KeywordsWaterlogging Farming systems Nitrification Ammonia oxidiser communities
We thank Dr. Hangwei Hu at the University of Melbourne, for providing supportive materials for TRFLP analysis. We acknowledge Dr. Jasmine Grinyer for her help in laboratory and comments on the manuscript and Dr. Collin Ahrens for providing statistical assistance. This work was financially supported by Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment and Western Sydney University. The work was carried out as a part of Cotton Research and Development Corporation project (UWS1301). BKS work is also supported Australian Research Council (DP170104634).
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