Long-term nitrogen fertilization decreases bacterial diversity and favors the growth of Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria in agro-ecosystems across the globe

Zhongmin Dai, Weiqin Su, Huaihai Chen, Albert Barberán, Haochun Zhao, Mengjie Yu, Lu Yu, Philip C. Brookes, Christopher W. Schadt, Scott X. Chang, Jianming Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations

Abstract

Long-term elevated nitrogen (N) input from anthropogenic sources may cause soil acidification and decrease crop yield, yet the response of the belowground microbial community to long-term N input alone or in combination with phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) is poorly understood. We explored the effect of long-term N and NPK fertilization on soil bacterial diversity and community composition using meta-analysis of a global dataset. Nitrogen fertilization decreased soil pH, and increased soil organic carbon (C) and available N contents. Bacterial taxonomic diversity was decreased by N fertilization alone, but was increased by NPK fertilization. The effect of N fertilization on bacterial diversity varied with soil texture and water management, but was independent of crop type or N application rate. Changes in bacterial diversity were positively related to both soil pH and organic C content under N fertilization alone, but only to soil organic C under NPK fertilization. Microbial biomass C decreased with decreasing bacterial diversity under long-term N fertilization. Nitrogen fertilization increased the relative abundance of Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria, but reduced the abundance of Acidobacteria, consistent with the general life history strategy theory for bacteria. The positive correlation between N application rate and the relative abundance of Actinobacteria indicates that increased N availability favored the growth of Actinobacteria. This first global analysis of long-term N and NPK fertilization that differentially affects bacterial diversity and community composition provides a reference for nutrient management strategies for maintaining belowground microbial diversity in agro-ecosystems worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3452-3461
Number of pages10
JournalGlobal change biology
Volume24
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Keywords

  • Actinobacteria
  • N fertilization
  • agro-ecosystems
  • bacterial diversity
  • community composition
  • microbial biomass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science(all)

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