Front Microbiol. 2022 Aug 16;13:943314. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.943314. eCollection 2022.
The soil microbial community plays important roles in nutrient cycling, plant pathogen suppression, decomposition of residues and degradation of pollutants; as such, it is often regarded as a good indicator of soil quality. Repeated applications of mixed organic and inorganic materials in agriculture improve the soil microbial quality and in turn crop productivity. The soil microbial quality following several years of repeated fertilizer inputs has received considerable attention, but the dynamic of this community over time has never been assessed. We used high-throughput sequencing targeting 16S ribosomal RNA genes to investigate the evolution of the bacterial and archaeal community throughout 6 years of repeated organic and inorganic fertilizer applications. Soils were sampled from a field experiment in La Mare (Reunion Island, France), where different mixed organic-inorganic fertilizer inputs characterized by more or less stable organic matter were applied regularly for 6 years. Soil samples were taken each year, more than 6 months after the latest fertilizer application. The soil molecular biomass significantly increased in some organically fertilized plots (by 35-45% on average), 3-5 years after the first fertilizers application. The significant variations in soil molecular microbial biomass were explained by the fertilization practices (cumulated organic carbon inputs) and sometimes by the soil parameters (sand and soil carbon contents). The structure of the bacterial and archaeal community was more influenced by time than by the fertilization type. However, repeated fertilizer applications over time tended to modify the abundance of the bacterial phyla Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria. To conclude, the present study highlights that the soil bacterial and archaeal community is lastingly modified after 6 years of repeated fertilizer inputs. These changes depend on the nature of the organic input and on the fertilization practice (frequency and applied quantity).