Topic Editors

Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’Economia Agraria (CREA), Research Centre for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, Corso degli Inglesi 508, 18038 Sanremo, Italy
CREA Research Centre for Vegetable and Ornamental Crops, Via dei Fiori 8, 51012 Pescia, Italy

Plant-Soil Interactions

Abstract submission deadline
closed (30 September 2022)
Manuscript submission deadline
closed (30 November 2022)
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Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plants represent the main component of terrestrial ecosystems, as primary producers, where they play a central role in determining ecological structure and function. Plants largely depend on the availability of soil, which not only provides a physical environment for their establishment, but also a necessary source of organic matter, mineral nutrients, and water. There are many environmental factors that influence the performance of plants; soil traits likely constitute the most complex factors, due to the diversity of possible interactions between plant roots and the living and inert part of the soil system. 

In the recent decades, the classical view of plant performance being driven by soil quality, in terms of the organic content and physico-chemical characteristics of the soil, has been slowly replaced by a most integrative view, which outlines the significant role of soil organisms. This role, initially regarding the positive effect of symbionts, and the detrimental influence of pathogens and parasites, has been updated to comprise the complex interactions between plants and the antagonists of their soil-borne enemies. Soil is considered to be the main reservoir of biodiversity of the biosphere; therefore, the preservation and functioning of such biodiversity is closely associated with the conservation and management of the soil system, and to a better understanding of plant–soil interactions. 

At present, in both natural and agricultural ecosystems, the study of plant–soil interactions is of interest to many research areas, ranging from plant physiology to ecology and evolution. Soil organisms can influence the quality and availability of soil nutrients, which, in turn, affects plant performance and how plants respond to environmental stress. On the other hand, plants can alter the composition of the rhizosphere of soil through the production of litter and the release of root exudates, fueling plant–soil feedback loops, with potential consequences at different ecological levels. Such interactions not only occur in natural environments, but also in agricultural environments, significantly affecting food production, and driving current and future agricultural methods and policies. 

The present topic on plant–soil interactions aims to create a representative and updated collection of research articles and reviews regarding the main processes that shape the links between plants and the soil system. These studies are expected to address fundamental and applied research questions in the areas of plant and soil microbiology, biochemistry, ecology, conservation and management. In order to properly organize this variety of contents, the topic will be joined by the following journals: Diversity, Agriculture, Agronomy, Plants and Microorganisms.   

The plant–soil interactions topic will cover, but is not restricted to, the following subjects:

  • Role of plants in soil formation;
  • Influence of litter quality and diversity on soil physico-chemical and microbiological properties;
  • Role of the diversity and activity of soil organisms on plant performance;
  • Above/belowground multitrophic interactions;
  • Plant–soil feedback in natural and agricultural environments;
  • Sustainable use of soil resources to produce food, commodities and energy from plants;
  • Soil management and adaptation to climate change;
  • Phytoremediation of polluted soils;
  • Plant adaptations to extreme soil conditions;
  • Soil ecotoxicology.

Dr. Fernando Monroy
Dr. Domenico Prisa
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • soil ecology
  • rhizosphere
  • mycorrhiza
  • soil-borne pathogens
  • sustainable agriculture

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Agriculture
agriculture
3.6 3.6 2011 17.7 Days CHF 2600
Agronomy
agronomy
3.7 5.2 2011 15.8 Days CHF 2600
Crops
crops
- - 2021 30.5 Days CHF 1000
Diversity
diversity
2.4 3.1 2009 17.8 Days CHF 2600
Plants
plants
4.5 5.4 2012 15.3 Days CHF 2700

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Published Papers (28 papers)

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17 pages, 1242 KiB  
Article
Breeding Milestones Correspond with Changes to Wheat Rhizosphere Biogeochemistry That Affect P Acquisition
by Rebecca K. McGrail, David A. Van Sanford and David H. McNear, Jr.
Agronomy 2023, 13(3), 813; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13030813 - 10 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1305
Abstract
Breeding wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) has resulted in small gains in improved nutrient acquisition and use as numerous traits are involved. In this study, we evaluated the impact of breeding on P-acquisition and identified both plant and soil variables that could be [...] Read more.
Breeding wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) has resulted in small gains in improved nutrient acquisition and use as numerous traits are involved. In this study, we evaluated the impact of breeding on P-acquisition and identified both plant and soil variables that could be used to inform the selection of germplasm with increased P acquisition efficiency. We previously screened a historic panel of winter wheat cultivars for root system architecture and root tip organic acid content when grown in P-deficient solution/agar and used these characteristics together with breeding history to develop a predicted P extraction potential (PEP). We tested the validity of the PEP classification by growing cultivars under sufficient and insufficient soil P conditions. Old, wild-type cultivars had the greatest P utilization efficiency (PUtE) when grown under insufficient P, likely a result of the chemical potential of wild-type (with respect to Rht-B1) cultivars (greater organic acid production) rather than root system size. Wild-type plants had differences in rhizosphere microbial community structure, rhizosphere bicarbonate-extractable P, and bulk soil Fe and Al, indicating the utilization of typically less available P pools. The PEP classification based on the presence of dwarfing allele and era of release offers a path forward for breeding for improved P acquisition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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15 pages, 971 KiB  
Article
Encephalartos natalensis, Their Nutrient-Cycling Microbes and Enzymes: A Story of Successful Trade-Offs
by Siphelele Ndlovu, Terence N. Suinyuy, María A. Pérez-Fernández and Anathi Magadlela
Plants 2023, 12(5), 1034; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12051034 - 24 Feb 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2530
Abstract
Encephalartos spp. establish symbioses with nitrogen (N)-fixing bacteria that contribute to soil nutrition and improve plant growth. Despite the Encephalartos mutualistic symbioses with N-fixing bacteria, the identity of other bacteria and their contribution to soil fertility and ecosystem functioning is not well understood. [...] Read more.
Encephalartos spp. establish symbioses with nitrogen (N)-fixing bacteria that contribute to soil nutrition and improve plant growth. Despite the Encephalartos mutualistic symbioses with N-fixing bacteria, the identity of other bacteria and their contribution to soil fertility and ecosystem functioning is not well understood. Due to Encephalartos spp. being threatened in the wild, this limited information presents a challenge in developing comprehensive conservation and management strategies for these cycad species. Therefore, this study identified the nutrient-cycling bacteria in Encephalartos natalensis coralloid roots, rhizosphere, and non-rhizosphere soils. Additionally, the soil characteristics and soil enzyme activities of the rhizosphere and non-rhizosphere soils were assayed. The coralloid roots, rhizosphere, and non-rhizosphere soils of E. natalensis were collected from a population of >500 E. natalensis in a disturbed savanna woodland at Edendale in KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) for nutrient analysis, bacterial identification, and enzyme activity assays. Nutrient-cycling bacteria such as Lysinibacillus xylanilyticus; Paraburkholderia sabiae, and Novosphingobium barchaimii were identified in the coralloid roots, rhizosphere, and non-rhizosphere soils of E. natalensis. Phosphorus (P) cycling (alkaline and acid phosphatase) and N cycling (β-(D)-Glucosaminidase and nitrate reductase) enzyme activities showed a positive correlation with soil extractable P and total N concentrations in the rhizosphere and non-rhizosphere soils of E. natalensis. The positive correlation between soil enzymes and soil nutrients demonstrates that the identified nutrient-cycling bacteria in E. natalensis coralloid roots, rhizosphere, and non-rhizosphere soils and associated enzymes assayed may contribute to soil nutrient bioavailability of E. natalensis plants growing in acidic and nutrient-poor savanna woodland ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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15 pages, 312 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Lablab Purpureus Growth on Nitrogen Availability and Mineral Composition Concentration in Nutrient Poor Savanna Soils
by Latoya Miranda Mthimunye, Gudani Millicent Managa and Lufuno Ethel Nemadodzi
Agronomy 2023, 13(3), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13030622 - 22 Feb 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1424
Abstract
Low soil fertility in savanna soils has been linked to low crop yields, with nitrogen being the most limiting factor in crop yield. Soil used in this pot experiment was obtained from Motshephiri village with low total N, low NO3 and [...] Read more.
Low soil fertility in savanna soils has been linked to low crop yields, with nitrogen being the most limiting factor in crop yield. Soil used in this pot experiment was obtained from Motshephiri village with low total N, low NO3 and high NH4+. A pot experiment was conducted in a greenhouse laid in a Randomized Complete Block Design with four treatments (1) control, (2) Bradyrhizobium japonicum inoculant, (3) superphosphate and (4) Bradyrhizobium japonicum inoculant + superphosphate). The superphosphate was applied at three different levels (45, 60 and 75 kg/ha). Lablab was cultivated in each treatment and the results of the study indicated that lablab growth significantly increased total N and NO3, and reduced concentration NH4+ relative to the original soil herein referred to as pre-lablab growth. However, the N forms (total N, NO3 and NH4+) did not differ significantly amongst different levels of superphosphate with or without Bradyrhizobium japonicum inoculant. Lablab growth, proved to have a significant impact on both the soil macro (P, K, Ca, Mg, and Na) and micronutrient level (Fe, Mn, Cu, B and Cl) with the exception of Zn. This study suggests that lablab’s ability to rapidly boost soil N content, overall soil fertility in a short period of time without the use of superphosphate fertilizers or Bradyrhizobium japonicum inoculants makes it ideal for intercropping or rotating with non-leguminous crops that have a short growing season. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
17 pages, 4663 KiB  
Article
The Tradeoff between Maintaining Maize (Zea mays L.) Productivity and Improving Soil Quality under Conservation Tillage Practice in Semi-Arid Region of Northeast China
by Nana Chen, Xin Zhao, Shuxian Dou, Aixing Deng, Chengyan Zheng, Tiehua Cao, Zhenwei Song and Weijian Zhang
Agriculture 2023, 13(2), 508; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13020508 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1808
Abstract
Conservation tillage has received strong support globally to achieve food security and minimize environmental impacts. However, there are comprehensive debates on whether it can achieve the synergy between maintaining crop yields and improving soil quality. To this end, a field experiment under continuous [...] Read more.
Conservation tillage has received strong support globally to achieve food security and minimize environmental impacts. However, there are comprehensive debates on whether it can achieve the synergy between maintaining crop yields and improving soil quality. To this end, a field experiment under continuous maize (Zea mays L.) cropping was conducted in northeast China. The treatment included rotary tillage with straw removal (CK, conventional tillage) and rotary tillage, subsoiling tillage, and no tillage with straw retention (CR, CS, and CN, respectively). Maize yield and a set of soil physio-chemical indicators in relation with soil quality were measured during 2017 to 2021. Results showed that CN significantly reduced the maize yield by 24.9%, 23.1%, and 19.5% on average compared to that with CR, CK, and CS treatments, respectively. CN and CS significantly increased the ratio of >2 mm soil aggregates and soil geometric mean diameter (GMD) in the 0–20 cm soil layer compared those of CK and CR treatments. However, CN and CS treatments had a higher soil bulk density and soil compaction in the 0–20 cm layer compared to those with CK and CR treatments. Soil organic carbon and total nitrogen in the 0–20 cm layer under CN and CS were higher than those with CK by 5.1–15.0% and 8.5–15.7%, whereas soil NH4+ was lower by 9.1–13.9% correspondingly. CN also reduced the soil temperature during the early-growth stage of maize. Importance analysis indicated that soil temperature, bulk density, and available nitrogen were the key factors affecting maize yield. Overall, no tillage with straw mulching could improve soil stability and soil fertility but reduced maize yield. Alternatively, minimum tillage (e.g., subsoiling tillage) with straw mulching might be a suitable practice as it maintains the maize yield and improves soil quality compared to those with conventional tillage practices in the semi-arid region of northeast China in the short term. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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15 pages, 1302 KiB  
Article
The Interactive Effects of Deficit Irrigation and Bacillus pumilus Inoculation on Growth and Physiology of Tomato Plant
by Jie Liu, Jiarui Zhang, Qimiao Shi, Xiangliang Liu, Zhen Yang, Pan Han, Jingjing Li, Zhenhua Wei, Tiantian Hu and Fulai Liu
Plants 2023, 12(3), 670; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12030670 - 3 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1512
Abstract
The effects of inoculating plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and soil water deficits on crop growth and physiology remain largely unknown. Here, the responses of leaf gas exchange, growth, and water use efficiency (WUE) of tomato plants to Bacillus pumilus (B.p.) [...] Read more.
The effects of inoculating plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and soil water deficits on crop growth and physiology remain largely unknown. Here, the responses of leaf gas exchange, growth, and water use efficiency (WUE) of tomato plants to Bacillus pumilus (B.p.) inoculation under four irrigation strategies (I1-I4) were investigated in a greenhouse. Results showed that soil water deficits, especially at I4 (20%, v/v), significantly decreased leaf stomatal conductance (gs), transpiration rate (Tr), and photosynthetic rate (An), and the decrease of gs and Tr were more pronounced than An. Reduced irrigation regimes significantly lowered dry matter and plant water use both in the non-B.p. control and the B.p. plants, while reduced irrigation significantly increased plant WUE, and B.p. inoculation had little effect on this parameter. Synergistic effects of PGPR and deficit irrigation on leaf gas exchange, leaf abscisic acid content, and stomatal density were found in this study, and specifically, B.p. treated plants at I4 possessed the highest WUE at stomatal and leaf scales, suggesting that B.p. inoculation could optimize water use and partly alleviate the negative effects of soil water deficit. These findings provide useful information for effective irrigation management and the application of PGPR in agriculture in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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18 pages, 3495 KiB  
Article
Soil Acidification in Nutrient-Enriched Soils Reduces the Growth, Nutrient Concentrations, and Nitrogen-Use Efficiencies of Vachellia sieberiana (DC.) Kyal. & Boatwr Saplings
by Naledi Zama, Kevin Kirkman, Ntuthuko Mkhize, Michelle Tedder and Anathi Magadlela
Plants 2022, 11(24), 3564; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11243564 - 17 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1956
Abstract
Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) nutrient enrichment is important for grasslands. This study aimed to determine how soils enriched with N and P influenced soil concentration correlations and affected the growth kinetics, mineral nutrition, and nitrogen-use efficiencies of Vachellia sieberiana grown in a [...] Read more.
Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) nutrient enrichment is important for grasslands. This study aimed to determine how soils enriched with N and P influenced soil concentration correlations and affected the growth kinetics, mineral nutrition, and nitrogen-use efficiencies of Vachellia sieberiana grown in a greenhouse experiment. The soils used as the growth substrate were analysed and showed extreme acidity (low soil pH, 3.9). Nitrogen-enriched soils were more acidic than P-enriched soils. Exchangeable acidity was strongly negatively correlated with an increase in soil pH, with soil pH between 3.9 and 4.1 units showing the strongest decline. Plant saplings showed increased root biomass, shoot biomass, total biomass, and plant N and P concentrations when grown in soils with high soil P concentrations. Extreme soil acidification in N-enriched soil was one of the main factors causing P unavailability, decreasing sapling growth. Extreme soil acidification increased concentrations of toxic heavy metals, such as Al which may be alleviated by adding lime to the extremely acidic soils. Research implications suggest that soil pH is an important chemical property of the soil and plays a significant role in legume plant growth. Legume species that are unable to tolerate acidic soils may acquire different strategies for growth and functioning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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15 pages, 3536 KiB  
Article
Root Electrical Capacitance Can Be a Promising Plant Phenotyping Parameter in Wheat
by Imre Cseresnyés, Klára Pokovai, Judit Bányai and Péter Mikó
Plants 2022, 11(21), 2975; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11212975 - 4 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1678
Abstract
As root electrical capacitance (CR*) was assumed to depend on the stem properties, the efficiency of measuring CR* at flowering for whole-plant phenotyping was assessed in five wheat cultivars in three replicate plots over two years. Linear regression analysis [...] Read more.
As root electrical capacitance (CR*) was assumed to depend on the stem properties, the efficiency of measuring CR* at flowering for whole-plant phenotyping was assessed in five wheat cultivars in three replicate plots over two years. Linear regression analysis was used to correlate CR* with plant-size parameters and flag-leaf traits (extension and SPAD chlorophyll content) at flowering, and with yield components at maturity. The plot-mean CR* was correlated with the plot leaf area index (LAI), the chlorophyll quantity (LAI×SPAD), and the grain yield across years. At plant scale, CR* was found to show the strongest positive regression with total chlorophyll in the flag leaf (flag leaf area × SPAD; R2: 0.65–0.74) and with grain mass (R2: 0.55–0.70) for each cultivar and year (p < 0.001). Likewise, at plot scale, the regression was strongest between CR* and the LAI×SPAD value (R2: 0.86–0.99; p < 0.01) for the cultivars. Consequently, CR* indicated the total plant nutrient and photosynthate supply at flowering, which depended on root uptake capacity, and strongly influenced the final yield. Our results suggested that the polarization of the active root membrane surfaces was the main contributor to CR*, and that the measurement could be suitable for evaluating root size and functional intensity. In conclusion, the capacitance method can be applied for nondestructive whole-plant phenotyping, with potential to estimate root and shoot traits linked to the nutrient supply, and to predict grain yield. CR* can be incorporated into allometric models of cereal development, contributing to optimal crop management and genetic improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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19 pages, 3219 KiB  
Article
Comparative Response of Fermented and Non-Fermented Animal Manure Combined with Split Dose of Phosphate Fertilizer Enhances Agronomic Performance and Wheat Productivity through Enhanced P Use Efficiency
by Rabia Tabbassum, Muhammad Naveed, Ijaz Mehboob, Muhammad Hussnain Babar, Jiri Holatko, Naseem Akhtar, Munazza Rafique, Jiri Kucerik, Martin Brtnicky, Antonín Kintl, Tomas Vyhnanek and Adnan Mustafa
Agronomy 2022, 12(10), 2335; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12102335 - 28 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2222
Abstract
Low availability of native soil phosphorus (P) is a major constraint limiting sustainable crop production especially in alkaline calcareous soils. Application of organic manure in this regard has gained attention of the scientific community. Yet, the potential of fermented animal manure in improving [...] Read more.
Low availability of native soil phosphorus (P) is a major constraint limiting sustainable crop production especially in alkaline calcareous soils. Application of organic manure in this regard has gained attention of the scientific community. Yet, the potential of fermented animal manure in improving P use efficiency and subsequent crop yield has not been assessed. This pot experiment was designed to study the performance of wheat under application of non-fermented and fermented animal manure in combination with 0, 45 or 90 kg·ha−1 phosphorus in the form of diammonium phosphate (DAP). Results show that non-fermented animal manure and split dose of phosphorus fertilizer improved plant quantitative attributes including plant growth, yield and nutrient uptake parameters. However, the placement of fermented animal manure combined with the full amount of P (90 kg·ha−1) fertilizer gave the mean highest value of fertile tillers per pot (12) and their grain yield (5.2 g). Moreover, plant physiological parameters were enhanced with fermented animal manure and the recommended rate of P fertilizer compared with the control. Likewise, the biochemical properties of wheat grain such as fat, fiber, ash and protein contents were increased by 1.24, 2.26, 1.47 and 11.2%, respectively, in plants receiving fermented animal manure and P fertilizer (90 kg·ha−1). Furthermore, co-application of fermented animal manure with P (90 kg·ha−1) into soil improved phosphorus uptake from 0.72 to 1.25 g·pot−1, phosphorus usage efficiency from 0.715 to 0.856 mg·pot−1, and soil phosphorus extent from 7.58 to 16.1% over controls. It is thus inferred that this new approach resulted in release of P from fermented manure that not only reduced fixation but also enhanced the growth, yield, physiology and nutrient uptake in wheat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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13 pages, 3934 KiB  
Article
Changes over the Years in Soil Chemical Properties Associated with the Cultivation of Ginseng (Panax ginseng Meyer) on Andosol Soil
by Shingo Matsumoto, Haruno Doi and Junko Kasuga
Agriculture 2022, 12(8), 1223; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12081223 - 14 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1632
Abstract
The sowing-to-harvest period for the medicinal plant Ginseng (Panax ginseng Meyer) is 4–6 years. Although one of the primary soils used to cultivate ginseng in Japan is Andosol, there have been few studies of the changes in the soil’s chemical properties during [...] Read more.
The sowing-to-harvest period for the medicinal plant Ginseng (Panax ginseng Meyer) is 4–6 years. Although one of the primary soils used to cultivate ginseng in Japan is Andosol, there have been few studies of the changes in the soil’s chemical properties during the cultivation of ginseng in Andosol soil. Here, we investigated the chemical properties of Andosol soil by collecting soil samples from cultivation sites with various numbers of years of ginseng cultivation. A significant negative correlation was observed between the years of cultivation and the soil’s pH, indicating that soil acidification increased with an increasing number of years of cultivation. Similarly, exchangeable calcium (Ca) showed a significant negative correlation with the years of cultivation. The soluble aluminum (Al) concentration showed a significant positive correlation with the years of cultivation and was significantly negatively correlated with the exchangeable Ca and magnesium (Mg) contents. These results suggest that a decrease in pH due to Ca absorption by ginseng, increasing Al dissolution, and a further accelerated decrease in pH occur during the cultivation of ginseng in Andosols. The increase in soluble Al with increasing years of cultivation also affected the dynamics of essential trace elements in the soil, showing significant negative correlations with the soil’s soluble copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) contents, indicating that the Cu and Zn contents decreased with increasing Al. Our findings indicate that in the cultivation of ginseng on Andosol soil, the soil’s soluble Al content is an essential factor in changes in the soil’s chemical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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17 pages, 3244 KiB  
Article
Effects of Contaminated Soil on the Survival and Growth Performance of European (Populus tremula L.) and Hybrid Aspen (Populus tremula L. × Populus tremuloides Michx.) Clones Based on Stand Density
by Mir Md Abdus Salam, Wen Ruhui, Aki Sinkkonen, Ari Pappinen and Pertti Pulkkinen
Plants 2022, 11(15), 1970; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11151970 - 28 Jul 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1825
Abstract
This study was conducted to assess the survival rates, growth, and chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm) of four hybrid aspen (14, 191, 27, 291) and two European aspen (R3 and R4) clones cultivated in creosote- and diesel oil-contaminated soil treatments under three different plant densities: [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to assess the survival rates, growth, and chlorophyll fluorescence (Fv/Fm) of four hybrid aspen (14, 191, 27, 291) and two European aspen (R3 and R4) clones cultivated in creosote- and diesel oil-contaminated soil treatments under three different plant densities: one plant per pot (low density), two plants per pot (medium density), and six plants per pot (high density) over a period of two years and three months. Evaluating the survival, growth, and Fv/Fm values of different plants is a prerequisite for phytoremediation to remediate polluted soils for ecological restoration and soil health. The results revealed that contaminated soils affected all plants’ survival rates and growth. However, plants grown in the creosote-contaminated soil displayed a 99% survival rate, whereas plants cultivated in the diesel-contaminated soil showed a 22–59% survival rate. Low plant density resulted in a higher survival rate and growth than in the other two density treatments. In contrast, the medium- and high-density treatments did not affect the plant survival rate and growth to a greater extent, particularly in contaminated soil treatments. The effects of clonal variation on the survival rate, growth, and Fv/Fm values were evident in all treatments. The results suggested that hybrid aspen clones 14 and 291, and European aspen clone R3 were suitable candidates for the phytoremediation experiment, as they demonstrated reasonable survival rates, growth, and Fv/Fm values across all treatments. A superior survival rate for clone 291, height and diameter growth, and stem dry biomass production for clone 14 were observed in all soil treatments. Overall, a reasonable survival rate (~75%) and Fv/Fm value (>0.75) for all plants in all treatments, indicating European aspen and hybrid aspen have considerable potential for phytoremediation experiments. As the experiment was set up for a limited period, this study deserves further research to verify the growth potential of different hybrid aspen and European aspen clones in different soil and density treatment for the effective phytoremediation process to remediate the contaminated soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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20 pages, 3358 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Cadmium Effects on Six Solanum melongena L. Cultivars from the Mediterranean Basin
by Edgardo Filippone, Valentina Tranchida-Lombardo, Alessia Vitiello, Fabrizio Ruiu, Mina Di Salvatore, Teresa Rosa Galise, Lucrezia Laccetti, Angela Amoresano, Gennaro D’Ambrosio, Luigi Frusciante, Giovanni Scopece and Pasquale Chiaiese
Agriculture 2022, 12(7), 1059; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12071059 - 20 Jul 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2081
Abstract
Cadmium (Cd) contamination is a severe problem in the environment and produces detrimental effects on crop productivity and quality. Characterization of crop performance at different Cd concentrations is crucial to identify pollution-safe cultivars with low translocation efficiency to aboveground organs to be used [...] Read more.
Cadmium (Cd) contamination is a severe problem in the environment and produces detrimental effects on crop productivity and quality. Characterization of crop performance at different Cd concentrations is crucial to identify pollution-safe cultivars with low translocation efficiency to aboveground organs to be used for food safety. Here, we estimated germination, survival, growth, photosynthetic pigments, Cd bioaccumulation, among-organs translocation, and ionic balance in six Solanum melongena L. (eggplant) cultivars from the central Mediterranean basin. On two cultivars, we also analyzed expression of genes involved in Cd uptake, i.e., heavy metal ATPases (HMAs) and metal tolerance proteins (MTPs). We found that Cd has a negative effect on all the investigated parameters but with relevant among-cultivar differences. Cd-treated plants showed a decrease in germination rate and survival. Photosynthetic pigments showed opposite trends, i.e., with increasing Cd contents, we observed a decrease in chlorophylls and an increase in carotenoids. The investigated cultivars showed high ability of sequestrating Cd in roots but a low translocation efficiency to the aboveground organs, suggesting a good potential for food safety. The response of plants to Cd was mediated by a different expression of the MTP and HMA gene families. Our study represents the first comprehensive investigation of Cd tolerance in eggplant varieties from the Mediterranean basin and highlights the importance of comparative studies to identify Cd-tolerant cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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13 pages, 2743 KiB  
Article
Effects of Vertical Smashing Rotary Tillage on Root Growth Characteristics and Yield of Broccoli
by Fake Shan, Dongfang Li, Jianxi Zhu, Shuo Kang and Jun Wang
Agriculture 2022, 12(7), 928; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12070928 - 27 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1686
Abstract
Most of the soils of the cultivated land in southern China are Ferralsols, which are easily deposited and hardened. To date, rotary tillage (RT) has been the major tillage system used in China. This tillage system results in a shallow soil pan, which [...] Read more.
Most of the soils of the cultivated land in southern China are Ferralsols, which are easily deposited and hardened. To date, rotary tillage (RT) has been the major tillage system used in China. This tillage system results in a shallow soil pan, which reduces broccoli growth and yield. A two-year field experiment was conducted in the Central Zhejiang Basin, China, to compare the effects of vertical smashing rotary tillage (VSRT), RT, and vertical rotary tillage (VRT) on the soil properties, growth characteristics, and yield of broccoli. VSRT reduced the bulk density and penetration resistance of the 0–40 cm soil layer, and increased the soil water content of the 10–40 cm layer. Compared with RT and VRT, VSRT significantly promoted broccoli root length and increased broccoli root dry matter accumulation (DMA). VSRT significantly increased the DMA rate during the growth period, and the size of the broccoli florets was more uniform. In 2020, compared with RT and VRT, VSRT increased yields by 7.8% and 19.5%, respectively; while in 2021, the corresponding increases in yield due to VSRT were 24.8% and 40.5%. Therefore, VSRT, as a deep tillage method, can improve soil characteristics before planting broccoli and ultimately increase broccoli yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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24 pages, 2172 KiB  
Article
The Bioconcentration and the Translocation of Heavy Metals in Recently Consumed Salicornia ramosissima J. Woods in Highly Contaminated Estuary Marshes and Its Food Risk
by Israel Sanjosé, Francisco Navarro-Roldán, Yina Montero, Sara Ramírez-Acosta, Francisco Javier Jiménez-Nieva, María Dolores Infante-Izquierdo, Alejandro Polo-Ávila and Adolfo Francisco Muñoz-Rodríguez
Diversity 2022, 14(6), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14060452 - 5 Jun 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3390
Abstract
Salicornia species are halophyte plants that are an important source for food, pharmacy, and bioenergy. They can be consumed as a leafy vegetable, but they can accumulate heavy metals that carry a health risk when knowledge of how each species behaves in different [...] Read more.
Salicornia species are halophyte plants that are an important source for food, pharmacy, and bioenergy. They can be consumed as a leafy vegetable, but they can accumulate heavy metals that carry a health risk when knowledge of how each species behaves in different types of soil is lacking. This present work aimed to determine to what extent S. ramosissima can be cultivated as food in estuaries contaminated by heavy metals and to what extent it can be used in phytoremediation works, by studying its behavior in populations that grow naturally in contaminated soils. We analyzed accumulation and translocation in different parts of the plant for 14 heavy metals and calculated the Health Risk Index value associated with their consumption as a leafy vegetable. The results obtained mean that the S. ramosissima plants that grow in most of the soils of this estuary are unfit for human consumption in some of the populations studied. In conclusion, Salicornia ramosissima J. Woods can accumulate Cd, As, and Pb—among other metals—in its leaves so its consumption should be limited to plants that grow in soils free of these metals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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16 pages, 2323 KiB  
Article
Soil Microbial Legacy Overrides the Responses of a Dominant Grass and Nitrogen-Cycling Functional Microbes in Grassland Soil to Nitrogen Addition
by Minghui Zhang, Xueli Li, Fu Xing, Zhuo Li, Xiaowei Liu and Yanan Li
Plants 2022, 11(10), 1305; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11101305 - 13 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1932
Abstract
Both atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition and soil microbial legacy (SML) can affect plant performance, the activity of soil N-cycling functional microbes and the relative abundance of N-cycling functional genes (NCFGs). In the grassland vegetation successional process, how the interaction of SML and N [...] Read more.
Both atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition and soil microbial legacy (SML) can affect plant performance, the activity of soil N-cycling functional microbes and the relative abundance of N-cycling functional genes (NCFGs). In the grassland vegetation successional process, how the interaction of SML and N deposition affects the performance of dominant grass and NCFGs remains unclear. Therefore, we planted Leymus chinensis, a dominant grass in the Songnen grassland, in the soil taken from the early, medium, late, and stable successional stages. We subjected the plants to soil sterilization and N addition treatments and measured the plant traits and NCFG abundances (i.e., nifH, AOB amoA, nirS, and nirK). Our results showed the biomass and ramet number of L. chinensis in sterilized soil were significantly higher than those in non-sterilized soil, indicating that SML negatively affects the growth of L. chinensis. However, N addition increased the plant biomass and the AOB amoA gene abundance only in sterilized soils, implying that SML overrode the N addition effects because SML buffered the effects of increasing soil N availability on NCFGs. Therefore, we emphasize the potential role of SML in assessing the effects of N deposition on dominant plant performance and NCFGs in the grassland vegetation succession. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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17 pages, 4339 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Characterization, Evolutionary Analysis of ARF Gene Family, and the Role of SaARF4 in Cd Accumulation of Sedum alfredii Hance
by Dong Xu, Chunyu Yang, Huijin Fan, Wenmin Qiu, Biyun Huang, Renying Zhuo, Zhengquan He, Haiying Li and Xiaojiao Han
Plants 2022, 11(9), 1273; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11091273 - 9 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1883
Abstract
Auxin response factors (ARFs) play important roles in plant development and environmental adaption. However, the function of ARFs in cadmium (Cd) accumulation are still unknown. Here, 23 SaARFs were detected in the genome of hyperaccumulating ecotype of Sedum alfredii Hance (HE), [...] Read more.
Auxin response factors (ARFs) play important roles in plant development and environmental adaption. However, the function of ARFs in cadmium (Cd) accumulation are still unknown. Here, 23 SaARFs were detected in the genome of hyperaccumulating ecotype of Sedum alfredii Hance (HE), and they were not evenly distributed on the chromosomes. Their protein domains remained highly conservative. SaARFs in the phylogenetic tree can be divided into three groups. Genes in the group Ⅰ contained three introns at most. However, over ten introns were found in other two groups. Collinearity relationships were exhibited among ten SaARFs. The reasons for generating SaARFs may be segmental duplication and rearrangements. Collinearity analysis among different species revealed that more collinear genes of SaARFs can be found in the species with close relationships of HE. A total of eight elements in SaARFs promoters were related with abiotic stress. The qRT-PCR results indicated that four SaARFs can respond to Cd stress. Moreover, that there may be functional redundancy among six SaARFs. The adaptive selection and functional divergence analysis indicated that SaARF4 may undergo positive selection pressure and an adaptive-evolution process. Overexpressing SaARF4 effectively declined Cd accumulation. Eleven single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) sites relevant to Cd accumulation can be detected in SaARF4. Among them, only one SNP site can alter the sequence of the SaARF4 protein, but the SaARF4 mutant of this site did not cause a significant difference in cadmium content, compared with wild-type plants. SaARFs may be involved in Cd-stress responses, and SaARF4 may be applied for decreasing Cd accumulation of plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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13 pages, 558 KiB  
Article
Nitrogen Use Efficiency of Quality Protein Maize (Zea mays L.) Genotypes
by Olusola Oluyinka Adeoluwa, Charles Shelton Mutengwa, Cornelius Chiduza and Ngoune Liliane Tandzi
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1118; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12051118 - 5 May 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2706
Abstract
Use of more nutrient-use efficient Quality Protein Maize (QPM) varieties will likely play a pivotal role in maintaining or increasing crop yields and nutritional values in fields where soils are degraded. This study aimed to: (i) assess the nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of [...] Read more.
Use of more nutrient-use efficient Quality Protein Maize (QPM) varieties will likely play a pivotal role in maintaining or increasing crop yields and nutritional values in fields where soils are degraded. This study aimed to: (i) assess the nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of different QPM inbred lines at various levels of nitrogen (N) fertilizer application; (ii) determine the relationships among NUE indices and yield; and (iii) determine the appropriate rate of fertilizer application for QPM genotypes under conditions of this study. Thirty-two QPM inbred lines were evaluated at 0, 30, 60, 90 and 120 kg N ha−1 N fertilizer application in a split-plot randomized complete block design with two replicates at the University of Fort Hare Crop Research farm, South Africa. Results revealed highly significant differences (p ≤ 0.001) for total nitrogen in biomass (Bio Total N), total nitrogen in grain (G Total N), grain yield, NUE and almost all the indices estimated across N levels. The top three genotypes which showed high-yielding potential at 30 kg N ha−1 include L2 (6.24 t/ha), L3 (6.47 t/ha) and L4 (6.34 t/ha), and were considered the most N-efficient genotypes under low N soils. The highest grain yields (6.74 t/ha) and highest NUtE (Nitrogen Utilization Efficiency) (1.93 kg grain/total N) were obtained at 90 kg N ha−1. Highly significant and positive correlation coefficients were found between NUE and yield (+0.9), NUE and NUtE (+0.9), NUE and HI (Harvest Index) (+0.5), NUtE and yield (+0.99), HI and yield (+0.5) and NUtE and HI (+0.5). Highest nitrogen uptake efficiency (NUpE) was obtained from the lowest fertilizer rate, which was 30 kg N ha−1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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17 pages, 1818 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Monocultures of American Ginseng Change the Rhizosphere Microbiome by Reducing Phenolic Acids in Soil
by Shuhui An, Yanli Wei, Hongmei Li, Zhongjuan Zhao, Jindong Hu, Joshua Philp, Maarten Ryder, Ruey Toh, Jishun Li, Yi Zhou and Matthew D. Denton
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 640; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050640 - 28 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2203
Abstract
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) is an important cash crop, but long-term monoculture often results in serious root rot disease and yield reduction. The dynamics of soil phenolic acids perform an important function in soil microbe–plant interactions, but the extent to which [...] Read more.
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) is an important cash crop, but long-term monoculture often results in serious root rot disease and yield reduction. The dynamics of soil phenolic acids perform an important function in soil microbe–plant interactions, but the extent to which changes in phenolic acids that occur under the continuous monoculture of American ginseng influence growth and the rhizosphere microbial community are unclear. In this study, American ginseng was planted in soil that had been used for 3 years of continuous monoculture (3 yr) and into a soil with no history of planting American ginseng (0 yr). Soil phenolic acids, rhizosphere microbiome characteristics, and pathogen suppression were analyzed. In the findings, the diversity and structure of the rhizosphere microbial community were affected by monoculture history, as the diversity of fungi and bacteria in 3 yr soil was higher than in 0 yr soil. The physiological performance of American ginseng in 3 yr soil was significantly lower than that in 0 yr soil. Soil phenolic acid contents decreased with the longer monoculture history, and high concentrations of phenolic acids suppressed the growth of American ginseng-specific pathogens. Soil phenolic acids appeared to modulate the pathogen population and the rhizosphere microbiome in American ginseng monocultures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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13 pages, 2467 KiB  
Article
Effects of Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) Strain Bacillus licheniformis with Biochar Amendment on Potato Growth and Water Use Efficiency under Reduced Irrigation Regime
by Jie Liu, Jiarui Zhang, Minye Zhu, Heng Wan, Ziyi Chen, Ning Yang, Jiangwang Duan, Zhenhua Wei, Tiantian Hu and Fulai Liu
Agronomy 2022, 12(5), 1031; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12051031 - 25 Apr 2022
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3216
Abstract
The objective of this study was to explore the effects of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), strain Bacillus licheniformis, with softwood biochar amendment on potato growth and water use efficiency (WUE) under a deficit irrigation (DI) regime. A pot experiment was conducted in [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to explore the effects of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), strain Bacillus licheniformis, with softwood biochar amendment on potato growth and water use efficiency (WUE) under a deficit irrigation (DI) regime. A pot experiment was conducted in a greenhouse. The results showed that PGPR improved leaf gas exchange rates, including photosynthesis rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration rate at early seedling stage, while tended to depress these parameters gradually until final harvest. The effects of biochar on plant leaf physiology, plant growth and WUE were not evident. Plants were more affected by DI than PGPR inoculation and biochar amendment. DI significantly decreased leaf gas exchange rates after exposure to water treatment for around three weeks, and the negative effect was eliminated at final harvest. At final harvest, DI significantly decreased leaf area, specific leaf area, dry mass of leaf and stem, total dry mass, dry mass increment and plant water use. The synergistical effect of PGPR strain Bacillus licheniformis and DI on plant growth and WUE were not observed in our study. WUE was solely improved by DI, indicating that, compared to PGPR inoculation, DI was a more effective measure to enhance plant WUE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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12 pages, 2210 KiB  
Article
Microwaved Vermicast Physicochemical Properties and Active Microbial Groups Impact on Photosynthetic Activity, Growth and Yield of Kale
by Lord Abbey, Zhixu Rao and Suwen Lin
Crops 2022, 2(2), 87-98; https://doi.org/10.3390/crops2020007 - 31 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1824
Abstract
Microwave technology has wide applications, including extraction of active compounds in biomass and compost for agricultural use. A study was carried out to determine the effects of microwave power level from 0 (control) to 1000 W on the properties and active microbial groups [...] Read more.
Microwave technology has wide applications, including extraction of active compounds in biomass and compost for agricultural use. A study was carried out to determine the effects of microwave power level from 0 (control) to 1000 W on the properties and active microbial groups in vermicast, and how it may impact the photosynthesis, plant growth, and yield of kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica) ‘Red Russian’. Heat accumulation in the vermicast increased rapidly to a peak of 86 °C at 400 W before declining to 68 °C at 1000 W. Vermicast water loss increased exponentially up to 800 W before declining. The C:N ratio of the vermicast was reduced at ≥600 W while the pH remained the same. In a 2D-principal component analysis biplot, vermicast treated at 600, 800 and 1000 W were associated with Gram-positive (G+), GGram-negative (G−), G + G− bacteria, protozoa, and fungi groups while the 0, 200, and 400 W treated vermicast were associated with eukaryotes. However, the trend for total microbial mass was 200 W = 400 W > 0 W > 600 W = 800 W = 1000 W. Kale leaf anthocyanin, chlorophylls, and carotenoids were significantly (p = 0.001) increased by the 400 W or 600 W treatment compared to the other treatments. Stomatal conductance, transpiration, and photosynthesis rates were increased by the 400 W followed by the 600 W. As a result, yield of kale grown in the 400 W microwaved vermicast was the highest. Future studies will explain the functions of specific microbial populations and elemental composition in microwaved vermicast. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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18 pages, 22671 KiB  
Article
No-Tillage Promotes Wheat Seedling Growth and Grain Yield Compared with Plow–Rotary Tillage in a Rice–Wheat Rotation in the High Rainfall Region in China
by Fujian Li, Xinbo Zhang, Dongyi Xu, Quan Ma, Tao Le, Min Zhu, Chunyan Li, Xinkai Zhu, Wenshan Guo and Jinfeng Ding
Agronomy 2022, 12(4), 865; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12040865 - 31 Mar 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2044
Abstract
Optimizing soil properties to match ecological conditions can alleviate stress damage and promote crop growth. However, the suitable soil conditions for wheat growth in an integrated rice–wheat breeding scheme under high rainfall and the mechanisms that affect yield production are not well known. [...] Read more.
Optimizing soil properties to match ecological conditions can alleviate stress damage and promote crop growth. However, the suitable soil conditions for wheat growth in an integrated rice–wheat breeding scheme under high rainfall and the mechanisms that affect yield production are not well known. Field experiments were carried out at two sites, which were all located in Jiangsu Province, China, a subtropical monsoon climate zone during two wheat growing seasons, to assess the effects of plow tillage followed by rotary tillage (PR) and no-tillage (NT) on soil physical and chemical properties, wheat seedling growth, grain yield, and spike amounts and quality. The finding indicates that with the reduction in soil mixing, soil bulk density was higher in NT than in PR, which helped to maintain moisture in dry soil. In soils with high water content, in NT, when the wheat field was subjected to waterlogging stress, the drainage decreased to deeper soil possibly due to reduced infiltration and a higher evaporation of surface water. The diurnal variation in soil temperature decreased in NT, and when the soil was cold, NT helped to insulate soils at 0–25 cm. Compared with PR, the contents of available nitrogen and phosphorus increased at 0–20 cm in NT. Root biomass and root activity of wheat seedlings at 0–20 cm were also greater in NT than in PR. Compared with PR, wheat also had more culms at the beginning of the overwintering stage, more spikes, and higher grain yield in NT, but the differences were not significant under excessive soil moisture. Therefore, the soil hydrothermal environment and spatial distributions of nutrients in NT promoted shallow root growth and tiller development in the early phase of wheat growth, which led to higher amounts of spikes per plant that resulted in high-yielding wheat crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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20 pages, 1440 KiB  
Article
Does a Soybean Intercrop Increase Nodule Number, N Uptake and Grain Yield of the Followed Main Crop Soybean?
by Anne Porte, Guido Lux, Sylwia Lewandowska, Marcin Kozak, Jörg Feller and Knut Schmidtke
Agriculture 2022, 12(4), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12040467 - 25 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2361
Abstract
It is not known whether seed inoculated soybean intercropping can increase the number of nodules, nitrogen uptake and yield of the subsequent main crop, soybean. For this reason, the soybean intercropping approach, sole or mixed cropping with buckwheat, was adopted to examine the [...] Read more.
It is not known whether seed inoculated soybean intercropping can increase the number of nodules, nitrogen uptake and yield of the subsequent main crop, soybean. For this reason, the soybean intercropping approach, sole or mixed cropping with buckwheat, was adopted to examine the influence of inoculation and intercropping of soybean and buckwheat on the subsequent main crop, soybean. Field trials were conducted from 2016 to 2019 in Germany and Poland. For this purpose, soils on which soybeans had not been grown in the past were selected as experimental plots and laid out in a split-plot design. It was surprising that even without inoculation a nodule growth could be documented. However, intercrop inoculation resulted in an average of 12 times more nodules per plant at four out of five sites. In addition, a 43% higher number of nodules was found on the lateral roots of the main soybean crop when intercropping with inoculated soybean occurred. The influence of the intercrop on the main crop soybean also depended on their growth in late summer and autumn. Further, there was a medium relationship (R = 0.7) between the number of nodules in the intercrop soybean and the nitrogen content of the soybean grain in the main crop. In terms of soybean grain yield, a single inoculation of the intermediate soybean crop contributed an average of 5% higher yield and inoculation of both the intercrops, and the main crop improved yield by 15%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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11 pages, 1214 KiB  
Article
Effects of Four Cropping Patterns of Lilium brownii on Rhizosphere Microbiome Structure and Replant Disease
by Wenyue Ma, Xiaolan Liao, Chong Wang and Ya Zhang
Plants 2022, 11(6), 824; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11060824 - 20 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1943
Abstract
Replant disease caused by continuous cropping obstacles commonly occurs in a Lilium brownii consecutive monoculture. To reveal the mechanisms contributing to the continuous cropping obstacles of L. brownii, four cropping patterns (fallow, L. brownii-rice rotation, newly planted L. brownii, and [...] Read more.
Replant disease caused by continuous cropping obstacles commonly occurs in a Lilium brownii consecutive monoculture. To reveal the mechanisms contributing to the continuous cropping obstacles of L. brownii, four cropping patterns (fallow, L. brownii-rice rotation, newly planted L. brownii, and 2-year L. brownii consecutive monoculture) were designed, and Illumina MiSeq (16S rDNA and ITS) was utilized to detect shifts in the microbial community in the rhizosphere. Our result showed that planting of L. brownii significantly reduced soil pH. Consecutive monoculture of L. brownii can significantly decrease the diversity and abundance of soil bacteria, but markedly increase the diversity and abundance of soil fungi. Under the four planting pattern treatments, the changes in soil pH were consistent with the changes in the Shannon diversity index of soil bacterial communities, whereas we observed a negative correlation between soil pH and Shannon diversity index for fungi. The relative abundance of Lactobacillales significantly increased in soils of L. brownii consecutive monoculture, while Acidobacteriales, Solibacterales, and Xanthomonadales increased in soils of L. brownii-rice rotation and newly planted L. brownii. Collectively, this work aimed to elucidate the relationship between the L. brownii planting patterns and soil microbiome, thereby providing a theoretical basis for screening new biological agents that may contribute to resolving continuous cropping obstacles of L. brownii. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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13 pages, 2804 KiB  
Article
Soil—Plant Relationships in Soybean Cultivated under Conventional Tillage and Long-Term No-Tillage
by Gustavo Ferreira da Silva, Juliano Carlos Calonego, Bruno Cesar Ottoboni Luperini, Larissa Chamma, Erilene Romeiro Alves, Sérgio Augusto Rodrigues, Fernando Ferrari Putti, Vicente Mota da Silva and Marcelo de Almeida Silva
Agronomy 2022, 12(3), 697; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12030697 - 14 Mar 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2599
Abstract
Soybeans [Glycine max (L.) Merrill] have great economic prominence in the world, and soil management systems can directly interfere with their yield through changes in soil physical-hydric properties. Thus, the aim of this research was to verify the relationship between yield components, [...] Read more.
Soybeans [Glycine max (L.) Merrill] have great economic prominence in the world, and soil management systems can directly interfere with their yield through changes in soil physical-hydric properties. Thus, the aim of this research was to verify the relationship between yield components, physiological traits, root development, and soil physical-hydric properties in soybean yields grown under conventional tillage and no-tillage systems. The experiment was carried out in Botucatu, SP, Brazil, with two treatments: soybeans grown under conventional tillage and no tillage. It is a long-term experiment, conducted since 1986. The main variables that influenced soybean yield were plant height, relative leaf water content, root dry matter, soil penetration resistance, and soil accumulated water infiltration. Physiological components of the plant and soil water showed a significant and negative correlation with soybean yield. On the other hand, the root development and soil physical components were positively correlated with soybean yield. However, the yield components were not significant. The no-tillage system resulted in 7.8% more soybean productivity compared to conventional tillage. Soybean yield depends on the physical properties and the water storage capacity of the soil, as well as on the physiological traits and the root development of the plant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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14 pages, 2243 KiB  
Article
Salinity Modulates Juncus acutus L. Tolerance to Diesel Fuel Pollution
by Jesús Alberto Pérez-Romero, José-María Barcia-Piedras, Susana Redondo-Gómez, Isabel Caçador, Bernardo Duarte and Enrique Mateos-Naranjo
Plants 2022, 11(6), 758; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11060758 - 12 Mar 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1988
Abstract
Soil contamination with petroleum-derived substances such as diesel fuel has become a major environmental threat. Phytoremediation is one of the most studied ecofriendly low-cost solutions nowadays and halophytes species has been proved to have potential as bio-tools for this purpose. The extent to [...] Read more.
Soil contamination with petroleum-derived substances such as diesel fuel has become a major environmental threat. Phytoremediation is one of the most studied ecofriendly low-cost solutions nowadays and halophytes species has been proved to have potential as bio-tools for this purpose. The extent to which salinity influences diesel tolerance in halophytes requires investigation. A greenhouse experiment was designed to assess the effect of NaCl supply (0 and 85 mM NaCl) on the growth and photosynthetic physiology of Juncus acutus plants exposed to 0, 1 and 2.5% diesel fuel. Relative growth rate, water content and chlorophyll a derived parameters were measured in plants exposed to the different NaCl and diesel fuel combinations. Our results indicated that NaCl supplementation worsened the effects of diesel toxicity on growth, as diesel fuel at 2.5% reduced relative growth rate by 25% in the absence of NaCl but 80% in plants treated with NaCl. Nevertheless, this species grown at 0 mM NaCl showed a high tolerance to diesel fuel soil presence in RGR but also in chlorophyll fluorescence parameters that did not significantly decrease at 1% diesel fuel concentration in absence of NaCl. Therefore, this study remarked on the importance of knowing the tolerance threshold to abiotic factors in order to determine the bioremediation capacity of a species for a specific soil or area. In addition, it showed that NaCl presence even in halophytes does not always have a positive effect on plant physiology and it depends on the pollutant nature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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16 pages, 2185 KiB  
Article
Intermittent Deep Tillage on Improving Soil Physical Properties and Crop Performance in an Intensive Cropping System
by Lu Li, Jiexi Guan, Suying Chen and Xiying Zhang
Agronomy 2022, 12(3), 688; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12030688 - 11 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2295
Abstract
Soil management practices are important parts of sustainable agriculture. Improving tillage practice is important for alleviating soil degradation and promoting sustainable grain production. A four year field experiment was conducted to examine the effects of deep tillage (DT), incorporated into the minimum tillage [...] Read more.
Soil management practices are important parts of sustainable agriculture. Improving tillage practice is important for alleviating soil degradation and promoting sustainable grain production. A four year field experiment was conducted to examine the effects of deep tillage (DT), incorporated into the minimum tillage (MT), on soil physical properties and crop performance. The field experiments included continuous rotary tillage (RT), continuous DT, and intermittent DT every three years, every two years, and every other year, into RT. The results showed that the introduction of DT into continuous RT reduced the soil bulk density of the 20–30 cm soil layer by 5.6% and reduced nutrient stratification rates by 20–30%, which favored more uniformly distributed soil nutrients in the top soil layer. The root growth for treatments with DT in the deep soil layers (1–1.5 m) was significantly improved, which resulted in a higher soil water depletion. Under deficit irrigation scheduling, the improved root growth and soil water uptake in the deep soil layer improved crop growth and grain production. Overall, a 10.5% increase in yield and 18.3% increase in water productivity were observed when intermittent DT was introduced during the four years. The effects of DT could be maintained for two continuous years. Therefore, it was suggested that after two or three years of RT, DT should be applied to improve soil physical properties and ensure high grain production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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18 pages, 1553 KiB  
Article
Short-Term Mineralization of Belowground Biomass of Perennial Biomass Crops after Reversion to Arable Land
by Andrea Ferrarini, Enrico Martani, Claudio Mondini, Flavio Fornasier and Stefano Amaducci
Agronomy 2022, 12(2), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12020485 - 15 Feb 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2286
Abstract
Little is known about the effect of perennial biomass crops (PBCs) removal on soil C dynamics. The belowground biomass (BGB) that is composed by plant belowground organs (PBO) such as rhizomes in the herbaceous PBCs and stumps in woody PBCs should be considered, [...] Read more.
Little is known about the effect of perennial biomass crops (PBCs) removal on soil C dynamics. The belowground biomass (BGB) that is composed by plant belowground organs (PBO) such as rhizomes in the herbaceous PBCs and stumps in woody PBCs should be considered, together with fine roots (FR), as a huge input of exogenous organic matter (EOM) that is incorporated into the soil at the reversion. In this study, we mimic the incorporation of BGB of PBCs through a soil-residues incubation under controlled conditions to investigate the effects of adding FR and PBO (at real field rates) on soil C and N mineralization dynamics, and to understand decomposition controlling factors. A modified RothC model version, encompassing a better description of decomposable (DEOM) and resistant (REOM) pools, was fitted to C mineralization curves of respiration measured by CO2 evolution in incubated soil to quantify partitioning factors and decomposition rates of PBCs BGB components. After 1 month, PBO showed higher mineralization rates (498 µg CO2-C gsoil−1) than FR (196 µg CO2-C gsoil−1), with black locust having the highest amount of C respired (38% of added C). The emission peak occurred within 3 days from the beginning of the experiment for PBO and after 1 day for FR. Generally, according to the modified version of RothC model, PBO had higher proportion of REOM than FR, except for black locust. The decomposition constant rates from the optimized RothC model were higher for PBO (kDEOM: 20.9 y−1, kREOM: 12.1 y−1) than FR (kDEOM: 0.4 y−1, kREOM: 0.1 y−1), indicating that FR are less decomposable than PBO. The C/N ratio is not the main controlling factor of decomposition when residue N is not a limiting factor, while the availability of easily decomposable substrates (DEOM/REOM ratio) and cell-wall composition decomposition is a strong predictor of C and N mineralization of these EOM types. The explicit inclusion of crop-specific DEOM/REOM ratios within RothC or a similar soil C model will help to improve the predictions of long-term C sequestration trajectories (half-life > 30 years) associated with PBCs cultivation, especially when dismission of such perennial cropping systems is addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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15 pages, 2155 KiB  
Article
Effect of Strip-Till and Variety on Yield and Quality of Sugar Beet against Conventional Tillage
by Dariusz Górski, Renata Gaj, Agnieszka Ulatowska and Wojciech Miziniak
Agriculture 2022, 12(2), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12020166 - 24 Jan 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3879
Abstract
A two-factor field experiment using sugar beet was conducted in 2016–2018 at Sokołowo in Poland (ϕ 53°5′16.05″ N, λ 19°6′21.07″ E), in a strip-plot arrangement with four replicates. Strip-till (ST) was compared to conventional tillage (CT) using four commercial sugar beet varieties (Alegra, [...] Read more.
A two-factor field experiment using sugar beet was conducted in 2016–2018 at Sokołowo in Poland (ϕ 53°5′16.05″ N, λ 19°6′21.07″ E), in a strip-plot arrangement with four replicates. Strip-till (ST) was compared to conventional tillage (CT) using four commercial sugar beet varieties (Alegra, Armesa, Contenta, Julius). In each study year, the experiment was established on lessivé soils developed from heavy loamy sand. The soil was rich in available macronutrients, while its reaction was neutral. The plant density, sugar yield, roots quality, and technological sugar yield were determined. A significant increase was found in root yield (6.6%) and, accordingly, in technological sugar yield (8.2%) in ST treatment relative to CT. Consistently, an increasing trend was observed for the root sugar content (0.21%). For the varieties examined, no preferences were observed in respect of tillage systems applied. The direction of changes in root yield, sugar content, and technological sugar yield remained constant regardless of the variety, tillage system, or the study year. The contents of potassium, sodium, and α-amino-nitrogen responded equally to both the variety and study year; however, the direction of changes in the above parameters was ambiguous and varied among the study years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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16 pages, 2085 KiB  
Article
Soil and Plant Responses to Phosphorus Inputs from Different Phytase-Associated Animal Diets
by Dario Fornara, Elizabeth M. E. Ball, Christina Mulvenna, Henry Reyer, Michael Oster, Klaus Wimmers, Hanne Damgaard Poulsen and Arno Rosemarin
Agronomy 2022, 12(1), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12010130 - 5 Jan 2022
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Abstract
The over-supplementation of animal feeds with phosphorus (P) within livestock-production systems leads to high rates of P excretion and thus to high P loads and losses, which negatively impact the natural environment. The addition of phytase to pig and poultry diets can contribute [...] Read more.
The over-supplementation of animal feeds with phosphorus (P) within livestock-production systems leads to high rates of P excretion and thus to high P loads and losses, which negatively impact the natural environment. The addition of phytase to pig and poultry diets can contribute to reducing P excretion; however, cascading effects of phytase on plant–soil systems remain poorly understood. Here, we addressed how three different diets containing various levels of exogenous phytase, i.e., (1) no-phytase, (2) phytase (250 FTU), and (3) superdose phytase (500 FTU) for pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) and broilers (Gallus gallus domesticus) might affect P dynamics in two different plant–soil systems including comfrey (Symphytum × uplandicum) and ryegrass (Lolium perenne). We found that differences in phytase supplementation significantly influenced total P content (%) of broiler litter and also pig slurry (although not significantly) as a result of dietary P content. P Use Efficiency (PUE) of comfrey and ryegrass plants was significantly higher under the intermediate ‘phytase’ dose (i.e., commercial dose of 250 FTU) when compared to ‘no-phytase’ and ‘superdose phytase’ associated with pig slurry additions. Soil P availability (i.e., water soluble P, WSP) in both comfrey and ryegrass mesocosms significantly decreased under the intermediate ‘phytase’ treatment following pig slurry additions. Dietary P content effects on P losses from soils (i.e., P leaching) were variable and driven by the type of organic amendment. Our study shows how commercial phytase levels together with higher dietary P contents in pig diets contributed to increase PUE and decrease WSP thus making the plant–soil system more P conservative (i.e., lower risks of P losses). Our evidence is that dietary effects on plant–soil P dynamics are driven by the availability of P forms (for plant uptake) in animal excretes and the type of organic amendment (pig vs. broiler) rather than plant species identity (comfrey vs. ryegrass). Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Plant-Soil Interactions)
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