Hiseq Base Molecular Characterization of Soil Microbial Community, Diversity Structure, and Predictive Functional Profiling in Continuous Cucumber Planted Soil Affected by Diverse Cropping Systems in an Intensive Greenhouse Region of Northern China
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Cover crops are key determinants of the ecological stability and sustainability of continuous cropping soils. However, their agro-ecological role in differentially reshaping the microbiome structure and functioning under a degraded agroecosystem remains poorly investigated. Therefore, structural and metabolic changes in soil bacterial community composition in response to diverse plant species were assessed. Winter catch leafy vegetables crops were introduced as cover plants in a cucumber-fallow
... n a cucumber-fallow period. The results indicate that cover crop diversification promoted beneficial changes in soil chemical and biological attributes, which increased crop yields in a cucumber double-cropping system. Illumina high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes indicated that the bacterial community composition and diversity changed through changes in the soil properties. Principal component analysis (PCA) coupled with non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) analysis reveals that the cover planting shaped the soil microbiome more than the fallow planting (FC). Among different cropping systems, spinach–cucumber (SC) and non-heading Chinese cabbage–cucumber (NCCC) planting systems greatly induced higher soil nutrient function, biological activity, and bacterial diversity, thus resulting in higher cucumber yield. Quantitative analysis of linear discriminant analysis effect size (LEfSe) indicated that Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Acidobacteria were the potentially functional and active soil microbial taxa. Rhizospheres of NCCC, leaf lettuce–cucumber (LLC), coriander–cucumber (CC), and SC planting systems created hotspots for metabolic capabilities of abundant functional genes, compared to FC. In addition, the predictive metabolic characteristics (metabolism and detoxification) associated with host–plant symbiosis could be an important ecological signal that provides direct evidence of mediation of soil structure stability. Interestingly, the plant density of non–heading Chinese cabbage and spinach species was capable of reducing the adverse effect of arsenic (As) accumulation by increasing the function of the arsenate reductase pathway. Redundancy analysis (RDA) indicated that the relative abundance of the core microbiome can be directly and indirectly influenced by certain environmental determinants. These short-term findings stress the importance of studying cover cropping systems as an efficient biological tool to protect the ecological environment. Therefore, we can speculate that leafy crop diversification is socially acceptable, economically justifiable, and ecologically adaptable to meet the urgent demand for intensive cropping systems to promote positive feedback between crop–soil sustainable intensification.