How soil microbial biodiversity is modified by soil chemical parameters in differently managed olive orchards

A.N. Mininni, C. Fausto, A. Sofo, P. Ricciuti, V. Nuzzo, C. Xiloyannis
Soil restoration is an important challenge of the 21st century, facing the increasing soil degradation, characterized by decline in quality and decrease in ecosystem goods and services. Several studies confirmed that sustainable orchard management practices might sequester atmospheric CO2 into soil, tree biomass and litter, enhancing soil organic carbon (SOC) stock and biodiversity. Higher biodiversity in ecosystems leads to greater stability and multifunctionality. In bacteria-plant interactions, both the bacteria and the plant profit from each other. These interactions play an important role in agriculture, positively affecting plant status and improving product quality. This study aimed at evaluating soil N/C parameters and microbial communities in soil, leaf (aerial part) and xylem sap between olive trees managed under sustainable practices for 17 years (i.e., no-tillage, drip irrigation with urban wastewater and recycling of polygenic carbon sources, like cover crops and pruning material) and trees managed under conventional ones (i.e., soil tillage, burning of pruning residues, mineral fertilization, rainfed), in a mature olive grove located in Southern Italy. In March 2017, samples of soil, leaf and xylem sap were collected in both treatments for DNA extraction and metagenomic analysis of the microbial communities. Soil samples were also collected for chemical and metabolic analyses. Results revealed that the long-term adoption of sustainable agricultural practices increased SOC, organic-N, and microbial biodiversity, with positive effects on plant growth protection and crop quality of olive plants.
Mininni, A.N., Fausto, C., Sofo, A., Ricciuti, P., Nuzzo, V. and Xiloyannis, C. (2020). How soil microbial biodiversity is modified by soil chemical parameters in differently managed olive orchards. Acta Hortic. 1281, 331-338
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1281.44
metagenomic analysis, soil organic carbon, resilience of ecosystem, circular economy

Acta Horticulturae