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Effects of vegetational type and soil depth on soil microbial communities on the Loess Plateau of China

Xiao, Lie, Liu, Guo-Bin, Xue, Sha
Archiv für Acker- und Pflanzenbau und Bodenkunde 2016 v.62 no.12 pp. 1665-1677
DNA, bulk density, carbon, carbon nitrogen ratio, coniferous forests, cropland, deciduous forests, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, ecological restoration, fungal communities, fungi, grasses, grasslands, land use change, nitrogen content, pH, phospholipid fatty acids, soil depth, soil fertility, soil microorganisms, soil types, soil water content, China
Soil microbial communities are very sensitive to changes in land use and are often used as indicators of soil fertility. We evaluated the microbial communities in the soils of four types of vegetation (cropland (CP), natural grassland (NG), broadleaf forest (BF) and coniferous forest (CF)) at depths of 0–10 and 10–20 cm on the Loess Plateau in China using phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profiling and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of DNA amplicons from polymerase chain reactions. The soil microbial communities were affected more by vegetation type than by soil depth. Total organic carbon, total nitrogen, soil-water content, pH, bulk density (BD) and C:N ratio were all significantly associated with the composition of the communities. Total PLFA, bacterial PLFA and fungal PLFA were significantly higher in the BF than the CP. The DGGE analyses showed that NG had the most diverse bacterial and fungal communities. These results confirmed the significant effect of vegetation type on soil microbial communities. BFs and natural grass were better than the CFs for the restoration of vegetation on the Loess Plateau.