ACS Omega. 2022 Dec 17;8(1):208-218. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.2c01711. eCollection 2023 Jan 10.
The beneficial interactions between crop roots and microbiomes play a key role in crop nutrient availability, growth promotion, and disease suppression. Recent research, however, rarely reported the effects of nitrogen (N) application rate on microbial community composition at different spatial structures in the maize root zone. Therefore, one experiment was conducted to examine the influence of three N-application levels (0, 180, and 360 kg N ha-1) on microbial community composition in three root-associated compartments of maize (bulk soil, rhizoplane, and endosphere). The microbial diversity and community composition differed significantly among the various compartments. The effects of N application on fungal composition decreased in the order bulk soil > rhizosphere > endosphere at different sampling positions. Also, the fungal composition was more sensitive to the N-fertilizer rate in the bulk soil and the rhizosphere than the bacterial community. A total of 14.42, 9.46, and 3.55% of all taxonomic groups were sensitive to N fertilizer, respectively. The keystone species fungal groups were Humicola (bulk soil), Gibberella (rhizosphere soil), and Humicola (endosphere). Together, our results demonstrate that compared with that of the bacterial community, the fungal community composition was more susceptible to different N-application rates. N fertilization affected the distribution of microflora by changing soil physicochemical properties and enzyme activities. There were strong correlations between microbial communities in maize under the N180 treatment. Moreover, the N180 treatment had the maximum fresh yield and biomass at 64.5 and 24.3 kg·ha-1, respectively.