Abundance of genes involved in nitrogen cycling and diversity of soil microorganisms in agroforestry systems

Summary

Soil microbial communities are key drivers of soil nutrient cycling and agricultural productivity. Previous studies based on the analysis of enzyme activities or respiration demonstrated that temperate agroforestry altered soil microbial communities; however, taxonomical shifts in microbial populations due to agroforestry remained mostly unexplored. Methods based on next generation sequencing (NGS) that have recently become available in soil biology offer high taxonomic resolution of investigated microbial communities and are independent of the viability and culturability of soil microorganisms. These tools could unravel changes in the composition and diversity of belowground microbial community associated with agroforestry.

Crop health and food safety are crucial for sustainable food production. Temperate agroforestry has repeatedly been shown to affect crop yield; however, as yet, there are no studies on crop health and its implications for food safety in temperate agroforestry systems.

The objectives of TP4.3 are to 1) evaluate how the absolute abundance of genes involved in N cycling in soil is affected by agroforestry; 2) inventory bacterial and fungal communities at cropland agroforestry sites by exploring taxonomically informative parts of amplified 16S rRNA and ITS loci by NGS; and 3) assess the impact of agroforestry practice on crop health and food safety.

In addition to the estimation of relative abundances of microbial groups by NGS, TP4.3 will quantify selected microbial groups as well as soil-N-cycling genes in soil using real-time PCR. The colonization of harvested wheat, barley and maize grain as well as oilseed rape plants with major fungal pathogens will be assessed using real-time PCR and the mycotoxin content of grains of wheat, barley and maize will be determined by HPLC-MS/MS.

 

funghi in soil

Contact

Prof. Dr. Petr Karlovsky

 

University of Goettingen, Molecular Phytopathology and Mycotoxin Research, Grisebachstrasse 6, 37077 Göttingen, Germany

 

Phone: +49 – (0)551-3912918

Fax: +49 – (0)551-398177

Email: pkarlov@gwdg.de

 

Lukas Beule

 

University of Goettingen, Molecular Phytopathology and Mycotoxin Research, Grisebachstrasse 6, 37077 Göttingen, Germany

 

Phone: +49 – (0)551-399580

Fax: +49 – (0)551-398177

Email: lukas.beule@agr.uni-goettingen.de