Effects of continuous straw returning on bacterial community structure and enzyme activities in rape-rice soil aggregates

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Straw returning is an effective management measure to improve or maintain soil fertility in agricultural ecosystems. This study investigated the effects of straw returning combined with compound fertilizer on the bacterial community, enzyme activities, and soil nutrients’ contents in a rape-rice rotation soil aggregates. To do so, a 5-year field trial (November 2016 to October 2021) was carried out in a paddy soil with three treatments: no straw + no fertilization (CK), compound fertilizer (F), and straw returning + compound fertilizer (SF). Soil aggregates were classified into mega-aggregates (> 2 mm), macro-aggregates (0.25–2 mm), micro-aggregates (0.053–0.25 mm), and silt–clay (< 0.053 mm) using the wet sieve method. High-throughput sequencing was employed to characterize the bacterial community, and Pearson correlation coefficient was used to identify the relationships among bacterial community, organic carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and enzyme activities in soil aggregates. Compared with F, the results showed that straw returning increased the content of > 2 mm aggregates by 3.17% and significantly decreased the content of 0.053–0.25 mm aggregates by 20.27%. The contents of organic carbon and total nitrogen in > 0.053 mm straw amended aggregates increased by 15.29 and 18.25%, respectively. Straw returning significantly increased the urease activity of > 0.053 mm aggregates with an average of 43.08%, while it decreased the phosphatase and invertase activities of soil aggregates by 7.71–40.66%. The Shannon indices of the bacterial community in each particle sizes soil aggregates decreased by an average of 1.16% and the Chao indices of the bacterial community in < 2 mm aggregates increased by an average of 3.90% in straw amended soils. Nevertheless, the relative abundances of Chloroflexi and Nitrospirotain in all soil aggregates increased by 6.17–71.77% in straw amended soils. Altogether, our findings suggest that straw returning is an efficient approach to enhance soil structure, carbon and nitrogen contents, and the richness of soil bacterial diversity.

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Scientific Reports



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