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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Crop Germplasm Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #405747

Research Project: Pecan Breeding and Management of the National Collection of Carya Genetic Resources

Location: Crop Germplasm Research

Title: Changes in the diversity of pecan (Carya illinoinensis) rhizosphere microbial community with different nitrogen fertilization, a case study in Oklahoma pecan orchard

item REN, WEI - Oklahoma State University
item ZHANG, LU - Oklahoma State University
item MANESS, NEILS - Oklahoma State University
item Wang, Xinwang
item TANG, MING - Oklahoma State University
item XU, TINGYING - Oklahoma State University

Submitted to: Scientia Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/24/2023
Publication Date: 7/28/2023
Citation: Ren, W., Zhang, L., Maness, N., Wang, X., Tang, M., Xu, T. 2023. Changes in the diversity of pecan (Carya illinoinensis) rhizosphere microbial community with different nitrogen fertilization, a case study in Oklahoma pecan orchard. Scientia Horticulturae. 321. Article 112365.

Interpretive Summary: Pecan is a long-life nut tree and requires fertilizers during the juvenile development and nut production. Different fertilizers influence root growth and the soil rhizosphere microbial community as well. Studies demonstrated that nitrogen plays an important role on root growth. Absorption of nitrogen needs the activity of soil microorganisms. It is unclear how the nitrogen affects the composition of the soil microbes around the pecan roots. This project provides a way to study how nitrogen influences the soil characteristics and changes the structure of the microbial community, and the interaction between the mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen-related bacteria that impacts on root growth.

Technical Abstract: Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) is primarily native to North America and is known as the leading nut produced in Oklahoma. Since the prices of fertilizers have increased and the activity of soil microbes may greatly affect fertilizer utilization, it is important to investigate the effect of fertilization on microbes. Samples were collected from pecan trees receiving full nitrogen (70lbs/acre), half nitrogen (35 lbs/acre), and no nitrogen (0 lbs/acre) fertilization in an orchard. Microbes were characterized by using the next generation sequencing and annotated into functional groups (trophic mode and nitrogen related) by FUNGuild and FAPROTAX. Our results showed the core fungal genera in this orchard were Tuber and Hymenoscyphus, while the core bacterial families were Chitinophagaceae, Xanthobacteraceae, and Chthoniobacteraceae. Among them, the pecan truffle Tuber lyonii was the dominant fungus. In association with an increase of nitrogen fertilization, the Simpson Index (SI) of fungi in roots was decreased, and the presence of pathotroph was increased, implying that the risk of plant infection by pathogens was increased. The pecan with half rate of nitrogen fertilizer had the highest colonization of symbiotrophic fungi, the lowest presence of pathotrophic fungi, and the highest relative abundance of Tuber. The relative abundances of bacteria related to nitrate reduction, nitrogen respiration, and nitrate respiration were found to be the highest in pecan with half rate of nitrogen fertilizer, which might imply the highest efficiency of nitrogen fertilizer utilization in this treatment. It revealed that applying half the recommended nitrogen rate of fertilizer could improve beneficial microbe presence, perhaps increasing nitrogen uptake and decreasing nitrogen needed for optimum production.