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Glyphosate application increased catabolic activity of gram-negative bacteria but impaired soil fungal community

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Abstract

Glyphosate is a non-selective organophosphate herbicide that is widely used in agriculture, but its effects on soil microbial communities are highly variable and often contradictory, especially for high dose applications. We applied glyphosate at two rates: the recommended rate of 50 mg active ingredient kg−1 soil and 10-fold this rate to simulate multiple glyphosate applications during a growing season. After 6 months, we investigated the effects on the composition of soil microbial community, the catabolic activity and the genetic diversity of the bacterial community using phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs), community level catabolic profiles (CLCPs), and 16S rRNA denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Microbial biomass carbon (Cmic) was reduced by 45%, and the numbers of the cultivable bacteria and fungi were decreased by 84 and 63%, respectively, under the higher glyphosate application rate. According to the PLFA analysis, the fungal biomass was reduced by 29% under both application rates. However, the CLCPs showed that the catabolic activity of the gram-negative (G−) bacterial community was significantly increased under the high glyphosate application rate. Furthermore, the DGGE analysis indicated that the bacterial community in the soil that had received the high glyphosate application rate was dominated by G− bacteria. Real-time PCR results suggested that copies of the glyphosate tolerance gene (EPSPS) increased significantly in the treatment with the high glyphosate application rate. Our results indicated that fungi were impaired through glyphosate while G− bacteria played an important role in the tolerance of microbiota to glyphosate applications.

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Funding

This work was financially supported by the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (IRT_14R27), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (31372140, 30971871, 40371071), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 020814380002).

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Correspondence to Jinliang Qi or Yonghua Yang.

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Responsible editor: Diane Purchase

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Liu, Y., Li, Y., Hua, X. et al. Glyphosate application increased catabolic activity of gram-negative bacteria but impaired soil fungal community. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 14762–14772 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-1676-0

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