Inoculating native microorganisms improved soil function and altered the microbial composition of a degraded soil

TitleInoculating native microorganisms improved soil function and altered the microbial composition of a degraded soil
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsDadzie F.A, Moles A.T, Erickson T.E, de Lima N.M, Munoz-Rojas M.
JournalRestoration Ecology
Volume32
Pagination11
Date PublishedFeb
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1061-2971
Accession NumberWOS:001089319200001
Keywordsamendments, biocrust, communities, cyanobacteria, diversity, dryland restoration, Environmental Sciences & Ecology, FIELD, glomus-intraradices, growth, microorganisms, pellets, quality, respiration, restoration, soil function, soil nutrient
Abstract

Restoration managers inoculate microorganisms to enhance soil function and improve restoration success, but the efficacy of these inoculations in real-world conditions is still unclear. We conducted a field experiment to test whether applying extruded seed pellets inoculated with native microbes affected soil properties related to ecosystem function in severely degraded mine soil. We found that inoculating with bacteria did not affect soil carbon, metabolic quotient (a measure of microbial stress), or basal respiration, but increased soil nitrogen by 75%, substrate-induced respiration by 147% and reduced carbon-to-nitrogen ratio by 44% compared to the control. This suggests that the bacteria inoculant contained free-living N fixers that increased the soil N content. Thus, inoculating with bacteria could supplement nitrogen fertilizers in degraded soils during soil restoration. However, we found that inoculating with a mix of bacteria and cyanobacteria did not affect any of the soil properties. This finding is counter to results in laboratory studies, suggesting that field tests are critical for understanding real-world outcomes of microbial inoculation. Finally, we found that soil microbial composition was changed by the inoculation with a mix of bacteria and cyanobacteria. None of the treatments significantly changed the diversity of soil microbial communities. Our data suggest that microbial inoculation could improve some aspects of ecosystem function and thus provide beneficial effects that might facilitate restoration of degraded sites.

Short TitleRestor. Ecol.Restor. Ecol.
Alternate JournalRestor. Ecol.
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Times Cited: 0
Cited Reference Count: 84
Dadzie, Frederick A. Moles, Angela T. Erickson, Todd E. Machado de Lima, Nathali Munoz-Rojas, Miriam
Erickson, Todd/0000-0003-4537-0251
Australian Research Council [DE180100570]; Hermon Slade Foundation [GIL 53873]; Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Governmentapos;s Global Innovation Linkages program; Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment; Ecological Society of Australia [RYC2020-029255-I, TED2021-132332A-C22, PID2021-123097OA-I00]; Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation; University of New South Wales, as part of the Wiley - University of New South Wales agreement via the Council of Australian University Librarians; Australian Research Council [DE180100570] Funding Source: Australian Research Council
This research received funding from the Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award DE180100570, the Hermon Slade Foundation (HSF 1808), and in collaboration with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Australian Government's Global Innovation Linkages program (GIL 53873) project "Eco-engineering solutions to improve mine-site rehabilitation outcomes." The project was also supported by the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment and The Ecological Society of Australia and M.M.R. is supported by the by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (RYC2020-029255-I, TED2021-132332A-C22, and PID2021-123097OA-I00). Data and R scripts can be accessed at . Open access publishing facilitated by University of New South Wales, as part of the Wiley - University of New South Wales agreement via the Council of Australian University Librarians.

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