The Effect of Pulse Crops on Arbuscula Mycorrhizal Fungi in a Durum-Based Cropping System

by Fraser, Tandra

Abstract (Summary)
Pulses are an important component in crop rotations in the semiarid Brown soil zone of southern Saskatchewan, Canada. Besides their capability to fix nitrogen, pulse crops establish a strong symbiotic relationship with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), which have been shown to increase nutrient and water uptake through hyphal extensions in the soil. Incorporating strongly mycorrhizal crops in a rotation may increase inoculum levels in the soil and benefit the growth of a subsequent crop. The objective of this study was to determine if AMF potential and colonization of a durum crop is significantly affected by cropping history and to assess the impact of pulses in crop rotations on the abundance and diversity of AMF communities in the soil. In 2004 and 2005, soil, plant, and root samples were taken on Triticum turgidum L. (durum) with preceding crops of Pisum sativum L. (pea), Lens culinaris Medik (lentil), Cicer arietinum L. (chickpea), Brassica napus L. (canola) or Triticum turgidum L. (durum). Although there were few differences in soil N and P levels, previous crop had a significant effect (p<0.05) on durum yields in both years. A previous crop of pea was associated with the highest yields, while the durum monocultures were lowest. Arbuscular mycorrhizal potential and colonization were significantly affected (p<0.05) by cropping history, but not consistently as a result of inclusion of a pulse crop. Phospholipid and neutralipid fatty acids (PLFA/NLFA) were completed to analyse the relative abundance of AMF (C16:1ù5), saprophytic fungi (C18:2ù6), and bacteria in the soil. The effect of treatment on the abundance of AMF, saprotrophic fungi and bacteria were not significant (p<0.05), but the changes over time were. These results demonstrate that although previous crop may play a role in microbial community structure, it is not the only influencing factor.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Germida, Jim; Hamel, Chantal; Knight, Joan; Walley, Frances

School:University of Saskatchewan

School Location:Canada - Saskatchewan

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:soil microbial community structure pulse crops crop rotation arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi durum wheat pea lentil canola phospholipid fatty acid profile water use efficiency


Date of Publication:04/07/2008

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