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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Houma, Louisiana » Sugarcane Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #354600

Research Project: The Effects of Water-Driven Processes on Sugarcane Production Systems and Associated Ecosystem Services in Louisiana

Location: Sugarcane Research

Title: Impacts of cover crop on soil microbiome in a long-term sugarcane monoculture

item Mula-Michel, Himaya
item White, Paul
item Hale, Anna

Submitted to: American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/22/2018
Publication Date: 9/1/2018
Citation: Mula-Michel, H.P., White Jr, P.M., Hale, A.L. 2018. Impacts of cover crop on soil microbiome in a long-term sugarcane monoculture [abstract]. Journal of the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists. 38:62.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Yield decline in sugarcane production world-wide has been associated with long-term monoculture owing to the deteriorating of the soil's physical, chemical, and biological status. Changes in cropping management such as crop rotation breaks, fallow periods, and cover-crops have been recommended to improve soil health and productivity. Soil microorganisms drive many biogeochemical processes in the soil. Therefore, they are excellent indicators for soil health and crop productivity. In this study we evaluated the impact of soybean as cover crop on the soil microbial community diversity and composition during the early stage of the restoration process. Three subsamples were randomly collected from the soybean and sugarcane rhizospheres, and the fallow soil. Results indicated a shift in microbial diversity community structure in response to the change in management systems. The bacterial and fungal diversity indices responses were different depending on the change in management system. Bacterial richness (chao1), abundance and evenness (Shannon and reciprocal Simpson) where significantly higher in soybean rhizosphere. Fungal richness, however, were significantly higher in soybean and sugarcane soil compared to the fallow soil, and no significant differences were seen with Shannon and reciprocal Simpson. While there were microbial groups that were shared among the three cropping systems, certain microbial types were only associated with a particular crop. A distinctive pattern of microbial community structure for each management change was also noted. It appeared that fungal community structure are more sensitive to cultural management changes than bacteria.