Tillage is a common agricultural practice affecting soil structure and biogeochemistry. To evaluate how tillage affects soil microbial CO2 fixation, we incubated and continuously labelled samples from two paddy soils and two upland soils subjected to simulated conventional tillage (CT) and no-tillage (NT) treatments. Results showed that CO2 fixation (14C-SOC) in CT soils was significantly higher than in NT soils. We also observed a significant, soil type- and depth-dependent effect of tillage on the incorporation rates of labelled C to the labile carbon pool. Concentrations of labelled C in the carbon pool significantly decreased with soil depth, irrespective of tillage. Additionally, quantitative PCR assays revealed that for most soils, total bacteria and cbbL-carrying bacteria were less abundant in CT versus NT treatments, and tended to decrease in abundance with increasing depth. However, specific CO2 fixation activity was significantly higher in CT than in NT soils, suggesting that the abundance of cbbL-containing bacteria may not always reflect their functional activity. This study highlights the positive effect of tillage on soil microbial CO2 fixation, and the results can be readily applied to the development of sustainable agricultural management.
Ge, T., Wu, X., Liu, Q., Zhu, Z., Yuan, H., Wang, W., ... Wu, J. (2016). Effect of simulated tillage on microbial autotrophic CO2 fixation in paddy and upland soils. Scientific Reports, 6, . https://doi.org/10.1038/srep19784