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ARS Home » Plains Area » Lubbock, Texas » Cropping Systems Research Laboratory » Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #413449

Research Project: Developing Strategies for Resilient and Sustainable Crop, Water, and Soil Management in Semi-Arid Environments

Location: Wind Erosion and Water Conservation Research

Title: Ester-linked fatty acid methyl esters respond to soil conservation management in a multi-regional study across the United States

item Roper, Wayne
item Acosta-Martinez, Veronica
item Moore, Jennifer
item Ducey, Thomas
item Dungan, Robert - Rob
item Veum, Kristen
item Gollany, Hero
item Jin, Virginia
item Johnson, Jane
item Fischel, Matthew
item Maul, Jude
item Reardon, Catherine - Kate
item Mikha, Maysoon
item Lehman, R - Michael
item Franco, Jose
item Manter, Daniel
item Liebig, Mark
item Hale, Lauren
item Emmett, Bryan
item Trippe, Kristin
item Stewart, Catherine

Submitted to: Ecological Society of America (ESA)
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/4/2024
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Soil microbial communities are critical to ecosystem services considered in soil health assessment (SHA), but SHA usually lacks information about shifts in the composition of microbial communities via ester linked fatty acid methyl ester analysis (EL-FAME) in response to soil conservation management. We collected topsoil to 15 cm depth from 15 locations across the United States with a wide range of edaphic and climate characteristics then measured different C pools to be used as soil health indicators. Our methods included characterization of the microbial community size and composition using biomarkers from EL-FAMEs along with measuring soil organic matter pools including organic C (SOC) and permanganate oxidizable C (POXC). Conservation management (reduced tillage, cover cropping, plant biodiversity, and manure application) significantly increased EL-FAMEs. The largest response ratio was caused by manure application, which increased EL-FAMEs, POXC, and SOC by 80%, 60%, and 30%, respectively. Within EL-FAMEs, conservation management typically increased relative abundance of saprophytic fungi and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi more than bacteria, indicating positive stimulation of hyphae and plant growth promoting fungi. Microbial EL-FAME biomarkers showed potential for use in soil health assessment as a soil C pool that responds to conservation management while informing about broad shifts in microbial community composition.