Biogas slurry as an alternative to chemical fertilizer: Changes in soil properties and microbial communities of fluvo-aquic soil in the North China Plain

Tang, Jiao, Yin, Jinzhong, Davy, Anthony J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7658-7106, Pan, Feifei, Han, Xu, Huang, Shaonan and Wu, Dafu (2022) Biogas slurry as an alternative to chemical fertilizer: Changes in soil properties and microbial communities of fluvo-aquic soil in the North China Plain. Sustainability, 14 (22). ISSN 2071-1050

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Abstract

Biogas slurry application offers an alternative to chemical fertilizer in realizing ecologically re-cycling agriculture. However, the responses of soil fertility and microbial communities to long term use of biogas slurry need to be explored in different soil types and regions. We investigated the effects of repeated applications over six years on the soil properties and microbial character-istics of a fluvo-aquic soil in the North China Plain. The experiment, with equivalent nitrogen in-puts, comprised: biogas slurry (BS), chemical fertilizer (CF) or substitution of half the chemical fertilizer with biogas slurry (BSCF); a control treatment had no fertilizer addition. Soil samples, at a depth of 0–20 cm, were collected for their physicochemical properties. Microbial community diversity and composition was investigated using high-throughput sequencing. Biogas slurry ap-plication treatments tended to lower the soil bulk density while increasing the water-holding ca-pacity and the water-stable aggregate mean weight diameter. Organic carbon and available nu-trient concentrations (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus) were enhanced in all fertilization treatments relative to the control, especially in the BSCF treatment. Significant differences in mi-crobial community composition were detected between the control and all of the fertilization treatments. BSCF resulted in the greatest diversity and most evenly balanced assemblages of both bacteria and fungi at the phylum level. There were clear associations between microbial composi-tion and changes in soil environmental variables caused by the fertilization treatments. Bacterial community composition and alpha diversity were associated particularly with differences in soil total nitrogen, pH, and available potassium, whereas fungal communities were more related to available potassium. Half substitution of the chemical fertilizer by biogas slurry gave the greatest improvement in soil structure and nutrient availability and this was associated with greater microbial diversity and better balanced microbial communities. Our results suggest that partial substitution with biogas slurry is an alternative to complete chemical fertilizer and that it offers clear benefits for the topsoil structure and fertility in fluvo-aquic soils. It also represents a prom-ising approach to a biogas-linked agroecosystem that restores sustainable coordination between cropping and animal husbandry under an intensive production regime.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding: This study was funded by the Postdoctoral Research Foundation of Henan Institute of Science and Technology, Postdoctoral Research Grant in Henan Province, China (201903042) and Key Research & Development and Promotion Projects of Henan Province, China (202102110388). Sequencing was provided by Personal Biotechnology Co., Ltd., Shanghai, China.
Uncontrolled Keywords: biogas slurry,physiochemical properties,microbial community,fluvo-aquic soil,north china plain,sdg 2 - zero hunger ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/zero_hunger
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2022 14:30
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2022 00:51
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/89862
DOI: 10.3390/su142215099

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