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“Adding nitrogen and phosphorous, commonly used as fertilizers, to the soil beneath grasslands shifts the natural communities of fungi, bacteria and microscopic organisms”

Can you imagine the rampant destruction of our soil in last 50 years? So called Green revolution destroyed microbial wealth we once had. Reason why India was known as land of golden sparrows.

Urea Microbes
Urea Microbes

Our present govt is planning to promote second wave of Green Revolution. Few more forests will be cut and soil nurtured for 1000s of years will become desert in few years.

There is only one solution. Gau mata and her prasad. Cow-dung, urine, milk – they can only replenish dying soil in shortest possible time.


Research


Consistent responses of soil microbial communities to elevated nutrient inputs in grasslands across the globe

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/35/10967.abstract

Significance

Human activities have resulted in large increases in the availability of nutrients in terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. Although plant community responses to elevated nutrients have been well studied, soil microbial community responses remain poorly understood, despite their critical importance to ecosystem functioning. Using DNA-sequencing approaches, we assessed the response of soil microbial communities to experimentally added nitrogen and phosphorus at 25 grassland sites across the globe. Our results demonstrate that the composition of these communities shifts in consistent ways with elevated nutrient inputs and that there are corresponding shifts in the ecological attributes of the community members. This study represents an important step forward for understanding the connection between elevated nutrient inputs, shifts in soil microbial communities, and altered ecosystem functioning.

Abstract

Soil microorganisms are critical to ecosystem functioning and the maintenance of soil fertility. However, despite global increases in the inputs of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) to ecosystems due to human activities, we lack a predictive understanding of how microbial communities respond to elevated nutrient inputs across environmental gradients. Here we used high-throughput sequencing of marker genes to elucidate the responses of soil fungal, archaeal, and bacterial communities using an N and P addition experiment replicated at 25 globally distributed grassland sites. We also sequenced metagenomes from a subset of the sites to determine how the functional attributes of bacterial communities change in response to elevated nutrients. Despite strong compositional differences across sites, microbial communities shifted in a consistent manner with N or P additions, and the magnitude of these shifts was related to the magnitude of plant community responses to nutrient inputs. Mycorrhizal fungi and methanogenic archaea decreased in relative abundance with nutrient additions, as did the relative abundances of oligotrophic bacterial taxa. The metagenomic data provided additional evidence for this shift in bacterial life history strategies because nutrient additions decreased the average genome sizes of the bacterial community members and elicited changes in the relative abundances of representative functional genes. Our results suggest that elevated N and P inputs lead to predictable shifts in the taxonomic and functional traits of soil microbial communities, including increases in the relative abundances of faster-growing, copiotrophic bacterial taxa, with these shifts likely to impact belowground ecosystems worldwide.

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