Agricultural Management Practices Influence the Soil Enzyme Activity and Bacterial Community Structure in Tea Plantations
Background The soil quality and health of the tea plantations are dependent on the agriculture management practices, and long-term chemical fertilizer use is implicated in soil decline. Hence, several sustainable practices are used to improve and maintain the soil quality. Here, in this study, changes in soil properties, enzymatic activity, and dysbiosis in bacterial community composition were compared using three agricultural management practices, namely conventional (CA), sustainable (SA) and
... transformational agriculture (TA) in the tea plantation during 2016 and 2017 period. Soil samples at two-months intervals were collected and analyzed. Results The results of the enzyme activities revealed that acid phosphatase, arylsulfatase, β-glucosidase, and urease activities differed considerably among the soils representing the three management practices. Combining the redundancy and multiple regression analysis, the change in the arylsulfatase activity was explained by soil pH as a significant predictor in the SA soils. The soil bacterial community was predominated by the phyla Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Chloroflexi, and Bacteroidetes in the soil throughout the sampling period. Higher Alpha diversity scores indicated increased bacterial abundance and diversity in the SA soils. A significant relationship between bacterial richness indices (SOBS, Chao and ACE) and soil pH, K and P was observed in the SA soils. The diversity indices namely Shannon and Simpson also showed variations, suggesting the shift in the diversity of less abundant and more common species. Furthermore, the agricultural management practices, soil pH fluctuation and the extractable elements had a greater influence on bacterial structure than that of temporal change. Conclusions Based on the cross-over analysis of bacterial composition, enzymatic activity and the soil properties, the relationship between bacterial composition and biologically-driven ecological processes can identified as indicators of sustainability for the tea plantation.