Rapid Change of AM Fungal Community in a Rain-Fed Wheat Field With Short-Term Plastic Film Mulching Practice
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Natural Sciences
Plastic film mulching (PFM) is a widely used agricultural practice in the temperate semi-arid Loess Plateau of China. However, how beneficial soil microbes, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi in particular, respond to the PFM practice is not known. Here, a field experiment was performed to study the effects of a 3-month short-term PFM practice on AM fungi in plots planted with spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. Dingxi-2) in the Loess Plateau. AM colonization, spore density, wheat spike weight, and grain phosphorus (P) content were significantly increased in the PFM treatments, and these changes were mainly attributable to changes in soil properties such as available P and soil moisture. Alkaline phosphatase activity was significantly higher in PFM soils, but levels of AM fungal-related glomalin were similar between treatments. A total of nine AM fungal phylotypes were detected in root samples based on AM fungal SSU rDNA analyses, with six and five phylotypes in PFM and no-PFM plots, respectively. Although AM fungal phylotype richness was not statistically different between treatments, the community compositions were different, with four and three specific phylotypes in the PFM and no-PFM plots, respectively. A significant and rapid change in AM fungal, wheat, and soil variables following PFM suggested that the functioning of the AM symbiosis had been changed in the wheat field under PFM. Future studies are needed to investigate whether PFM applied over a longer term has a similar effect on the AM fungal community and their functioning in an agricultural ecosystem.