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Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi ameliorate the chemical properties and enzyme activities of rhizosphere soil in reclaimed mining subsidence in northwestern China

Abstract

In semi-arid region of northwestern China, underground mining subsidence often results in decreased vegetation coverage, impoverishment of soil fertility and water stress. In addition, the physical-chemical and biological properties of soil also change, resulting in more susceptible to degradation. In particular, subsidence causes disturbance of the symbioses of plant and microbe that can play a beneficial role in the establishment of vegetation communities in degraded ecosystems. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of revegetation with exotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) inoculum on the chemical and biological properties of soil over time in mining subsidence areas. Soils were sampled at a depth up to 30 cm in the adjacent rhizosphere of Amorpha fruticose Linn. from five reclaimed vegetation communities in northwestern China. In August 2015, a field trial was set up with five historical revegetation experiments established in 2008 (7-year), 2011 (4-year), 2012 (3-year), 2013 (2-year) and 2014 (1-year), respectively. Each reclamation experiment included two treatments, i.e., revegetation with exotic AMF inoculum (AMF) and non-AMF inoculum (the control). Root mycorrhizal colonization, glomalin-related soil protein (GRSP), soil organic carbon (SOC), soil nutrients, and enzyme activities were also assessed. The results showed that mycorrhizal colonization of inoculated plants increased by 33.3%–163.0% compared to that of non-inoculated plants (P<0.05). Revegetation with exotic AMF inoculum also significantly improved total GRSR (T-GRSP) and easily extracted GRSP (EE-GRSP) concentrations compared to control, besides the T-GRSP in 1-year experiment and the EE-GRSP in 2-year experiment. A significant increase in SOC content was only observed in 7-year AMF reclaimed soils compared to non-AMF reclaimed soils. Soil total N (TN), Olsen phosphorus (P) and available potassium (K) were significantly higher in inoculated soil after 1–7 years of reclamation (except for individual cases), and increased with reclamation time (besides soil Olsen P). The exotic AMF inoculum markedly increased the average soil invertase, catalase, urease and alkaline phosphatase by 23.8%, 21.3%, 18.8% and 8.6%, respectively (P<0.05), compared with the control. Root mycorrhizal colonization was positively correlated with soil parameters (SOC, TN and soil available K) and soil enzyme activities (soil invertase, catalase, urease and alkaline phosphatase) in both AMF and non-AMF reclaimed soils (P<0.05), excluding available K in non-AMF reclaimed soils. T-GRSP (P<0.05) and EE-GRSP (P<0.05) were significantly correlated with the majority of edaphic factors, except for soil Olsen P. The positive correlation between root mycorrhizal colonization and available K was observed in AMF reclaimed soils, indicating that the AMF reclaimed soil with a high root mycorrhizal colonization could potentially accumulate available K in soils. Our findings concluded that revegetation with exotic AMF inoculum influenced soil nutrient availability and enzyme activities in the semi-arid ecosystem, suggesting that inoculating AMF can be an effective method to improve soil fertility and support restoration of vegetation communities under poor conditions like soil nutrient deficiency and drought.

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Acknowledgements

The study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51574253), the National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (2013AA102904), and the Open Research Project of the State Key Laboratory of Coal Resources and Safe Mining, China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing) (SKLCRSM16KFA01).

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Qiu, L., Bi, Y., Jiang, B. et al. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi ameliorate the chemical properties and enzyme activities of rhizosphere soil in reclaimed mining subsidence in northwestern China. J. Arid Land 11, 135–147 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-018-0019-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-018-0019-9

Keywords

  • revegetation
  • mycorrhizal colonization
  • glomalin-related soil proteins
  • arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • coal mining
  • Amorpha fruticose