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Research Project: Towards Resilient Agricultural Systems to Enhance Water Availability, Quality, and Other Ecosystem Services under Changing Climate and Land Use

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Title: Soil microbial community structure: mechanical disturbance alters soil microbial community

item Peterson-Munks, Brekke
item Steiner, Jean

Submitted to: Grazinglands Research Laboratory Miscellaneous Publication
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/19/2017
Publication Date: 6/20/2017
Citation: Peterson-Munks, B.L., Steiner, J.L. 2017. Soil microbial community structure: mechanical disturbance alters soil microbial community. Grazinglands Research Laboratory Miscellaneous Publication. Available at:

Interpretive Summary: Abstract only

Technical Abstract: Soil microbes are responsible for soil nutrient cycling in both perennial and annual management systems for beef cattle and grain production. In the Southern Plains of Oklahoma, producers plant winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) in rotation with winter canola (Brassica rapa). Producers in the Southern Plains implement either conventional tillage or no-till management systems. The Southern Plains also support native pasture that is limited in management. The perennial and annual systems are very productive in-part to soil microbes. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of mechanical disturbance on the soil microbial community of perennial and annual plant systems in Oklahoma. Sampling occurred in 2015 and 2016 in perennial and annual crop fields at the United States Department of Agriculture-Grazinglands Research Lab in El Reno, OK. Methods used to determine microbial community were standard procedures for soil polylipid fatty acid analysis. Overall, mechanical tillage decreases soil microbial content. Perennial, low managed soils like the native prairie soils have the greatest content of bacteria, fungi and AMF microbes. Annual, high managed soils have less microbial content compared to perennial soils. The seasons also alter soil microbe content. Summer experienced the greatest content of bacteria due to active growth of plants due to the availability of inputs. Fall experienced the greatest content of fungi and AMF microbes due to complex residue availability. Total PLFA is consistent in years and seasons in annual soil, however the community structure changes suggesting a limit to available nutrients.