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Soil Microbiomes in Apple Orchards Are Influenced by the Type of Agricultural Management but Never Match the Complexity and Connectivity of a Semi-natural Benchmark

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Conversion of natural ecosystems into agricultural land may strongly affect the soil microbiome and the functioning of the soil ecosystem. Alternative farming systems, such as organic farming, have therefore been advocated to reduce this impact, yet the outcomes of different agricultural management regimes often remain ambiguous and their evaluations mostly lack a proper more natural benchmark. We used high-throughput amplicon sequencing, linear models, redundancy analyses, and co-occurrence network analyses to investigate the effect of organic and integrated pest management (IPM) on soil fungal and bacterial communities in both the crop and drive rows of apple orchards in Belgium, and we included semi-natural grasslands as a benchmark. Fungi were strongly influenced by agricultural management, with lower diversity indices and distinct communities in IPM compared to organic orchards, whereas IPM orchards had a higher AMF abundance and the most complex and connected fungal communities. Bacterial diversity indices, community composition, and functional groups were less affected by management, with only a higher network connectivity and abundance of keystone taxa in organic drive rows. On the other hand, none of the agricultural soil microbiomes matched the complexity and connectedness of our semi-natural benchmark, demonstrating that even more nature-friendly agricultural management practices strongly affect the soil microbiome and highlighting the essential role of (semi-)natural systems as a harbor of robust and functionally diverse fungal and bacterial communities.
Tijdschrift: Frontiers in Microbiology
ISSN: 1664-302X
Volume: 13
Jaar van publicatie:2022