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Soil nitrogen treatment alters microbiome networks across farm niches

February 2022

Publication: Frontiers in Microbiology
Author(s): XY. Wang, K. Reilly, R. Heathcott, A. Biswas, L. Johnson, S. Teasdale, G-A. Grelet, A. Podolyan, P. Gregorini, G. Attwood, N. Palevich, S. Morales

A farm is a collection of interlinked ecological habitats split by locations, including above-ground, below-ground, and animal-associated niches each harbouring unique microbiomes. We examined agricultural microbiome responses to 3 different nitrogen treatments (0, 150, and 300 kg/ha/yr) in soil and tracked linked responses in other neighbouring farm niches.

Nitrogen treatment had little impact on microbiome structure or composition across niches, but drastically reduced the microbiome network connectivity in soil. Networks of 16S microbiomes were the most sensitive to nitrogen treatment across amplicons, where ITS microbiome networks were the least responsive.

Nitrogen enrichment in soil altered soil and the neighbouring microbiome networks, supporting our hypotheses that nitrogen treatment in soil altered microbiomes in soil and in nearby niches. This suggested that agricultural microbiomes across farm niches are ecologically interactive. Therefore, knock-on effects on neighbouring niches should be considered when management is applied to a single agricultural niche.

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