Impacts of organic and conventional crop management on diversity and activity of free-living nitrogen fixing bacteria and total bacteria are subsidiary to temporal effects

Caroline Orr, Julia Cooper, Carlo Leifert, Stephen Cummings

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50 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

A three year field study (2007-2009) of the diversity and numbers of the total and metabolically active free-living diazotophic bacteria and total bacterial communities in organic and conventionally managed agricultural soil was conducted at the Nafferton Factorial Systems Comparison (NFSC) study, in northeast England. The result demonstrated that there was no consistent effect of either organic or conventional soil management across the three years on the diversity or quantity of either diazotrophic or total bacterial communities. However, ordination analyses carried out on data from each individual year showed that factors associated with the different fertility management measures including availability of nitrogen species, organic carbon and pH, did exert significant effects on the structure of both diazotrophic and total bacterial communities. It appeared that the dominant drivers of qualitative and quantitative changes in both communities were annual and seasonal effects. Moreover, regression analyses showed activity of both communities was significantly affected by soil temperature and climatic conditions. The diazotrophic community showed no significant change in diversity across the three years, however, the total bacterial community significantly increased in diversity year on year. Diversity was always greatest during March for both diazotrophic and total bacterial communities. Quantitative analyses using qPCR of each community indicated that metabolically active diazotrophs were highest in year 1 but the population significantly declined in year 2 before recovering somewhat in the final year. The total bacterial population in contrast increased significantly each year. Seasonal effects were less consistent in this quantitative study.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere52891
JournalPLoS One
Volume7
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2012

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