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Paula, FS;Tatti, E;Thorn, C;Abram, F;Wilson, J;O'Flaherty, V
Soil Biology & Biochemistry
Soil prokaryotic community resilience, fungal colonisation and increased cross-domain co-occurrence in response to a plant-growth enhancing organic amendment
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In agricultural systems based on organic fertilisers, the activity of prokaryotes and fungi is essential for degradation of complex substrates and release of nutrients for plant uptake. Understanding the dynamics of microbial communities in these systems is, therefore, desirable for designing successful management strategies aiming to optimise nutrient availability and improve plant productivity. Of particular interest is how the microbial inoculum provided by an organic substrate persists in the soil and interacts with soil and plant microbiomes, as these processes may affect the long-term benefits of organic amendments. We aimed to investigate how these dynamics occurred in soil treated with stabilised spent mushroom substrate (SMS), a soil amendment rich in nutrients and complex organic matter. We carried out a 14 week soil trial to assess the plant growth promoting properties of the SMS and to monitor the successional processes of the resulting SMS-soil communities compared to a control treatment containing soil amended with mineral fertiliser. Bacterial and fungal communities were analysed by high-throughput sequencing at both DNA and RNA (cDNA) levels. Using a combination of computational tools, including SourceTracker and Network analysis, we assessed the persistence of SMS-derived taxa in soil, and the changes in co-occurrence patterns and microbial community structure over time. Prokaryotic and fungal communities presented remarkably distinct trajectories following SMS treatment. The soil prokaryotic communities displayed higher levels of resilience to the changes introduced by SMS treatment and rapidly tended toward a soil-like profile, with low persistence of SMS-derived prokaryotes. By contrast, the SMS fungal community had greater success in soil colonisation during the time monitored. SMS treatment promoted an increase in the participation of fungi in the highly connected fraction of the active community, including fungal taxa of SMS origin. We observed the presence of highly connected microbial guilds, composed by fungal and bacterial taxa with reported capabilities of complex organic matter degradation. Many of these taxa were also significantly correlated with soil organic matter content and plant yield, suggesting that these highly connected taxa may play key roles not only in the community structure, but also in the plant-soil system under organic fertilisation.
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