This study investigates the effects of residue incorporation coupled with plant growth and soil moisture level on wheat biomasses, soil nutrients, labile organic carbon (LOC), microbial metabolic profiles, and community composition. Four management practices were used in a 180-day pot experiment: (1) control (CON), (2) maize (Zea mays L.) residue incorporation without plants (MR), (3) wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) plants without maize residue (WP), and (4) maize residue incorporation with wheat plants (MRWPs). Each management practice included soil moisture at both 40 and 80% of field capacity. At wheat harvest, soil nutrient contents in the WP and MRWP treatments were significantly lower than in the CON and MR treatments. In comparison with the CON treatment, MR, WP, and MRWP treatments resulted in 35, 23, and 67% increases in dissolved organic carbon content; 17, 12, and 34% increases in hot-water extractable organic carbon content; and 78, 50, and 150% increases in microbial biomass carbon content. Furthermore, microbial utilizations of carboxylic acids and polymer carbon sources in the MR, WP, and MRWP treatments were 261 and 88%, 239 and 105%, and 300 and 126% higher than in the CON treatment. The MR and CON treatments had similar phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) content but the WP and MRWP treatments had significantly increased gram-negative content and changes to community composition compared with the CON and MR treatments. The wheat biomass, LOC, and PLFA contents significantly increased with greater soil moisture. Overall, these results suggest an additive effect of residue incorporation and plant growth on LOC contents, primarily due to the changes in microbial utilization of carbon sources and community composition.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 26, 2017
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