Response of soil microbial community parameters to plastic film mulch: A meta-analysis

Yüze Li, Huanxin Xie, Zhangheng Ren, Yunpeng Ding, Mei Long, Guangxin Zhang, Xiaoliang Qin, Kadambot H.M. Siddique, Yuncheng Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Plastic film mulch alters the soil environment and improves crop production. Although the response of aboveground parts of agroecosystems to plastic film mulch has been extensively studied, no studies have investigated the response of the soil microbiome to plastic film mulch and its effect on crop yield. Here, we performed a meta-analysis of 536 observations to elucidate the response of the soil microbial community to plastic film mulch. Plastic film mulch significantly increased soil microbial alpha-diversity (Shannon: +0.043, 95% CI: +0.022 to + 0.064; richness: +0.037, 95% CI: +0.007 to + 0.067), abundance (+0.104, 95% CI: +0.070 to + 0.139), and eco-functionality (+0.129, 95% CI: +0.087 to + 0.170). In neutral pH soil and field combined plastic film mulch with ridge–furrow tillage, plastic film mulch had a significant impact on microbial richness. Microbial abundance increased significantly when chemical fertilizer was used, but not when organic fertilizer was used. The effect of low-level nitrogen on N acquisition enzyme actives is greater than that of medium and high nitrogen input. Thick film mulch produced a larger positive response in microbial abundance, C acquisition, and oxidative enzyme activities than thin film mulch. Changes in microbial functionality were decoupled with diversity, while in tandem with its abundance and community structure. The increases in microbial C acquisition, N acquisition, and oxidative enzyme activities were significantly linked to yield. Our findings highlight the beneficial effects of plastic film mulch on the soil microbial community and have further implications for the development of soil health-friendly agricultural management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115851
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2022


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