Nitrogen input on organic amendments alters the pattern of soil–microbe-plant co-dependence

João W. Bossolani, Márcio F.A. Leite, Letusa Momesso, Hein ten Berge, Jaap Bloem, Eiko E. Kuramae*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The challenges of nitrogen (N) management in agricultural fields include minimizing N losses while maximizing profitability and soil health. Crop residues can alter N and carbon (C) cycle processes in the soil and modulate the responses of the subsequent crop and soil– microbe-plant interactions. Here, we aim to understand how organic amendments with low and high C/N ratio, combined or not with mineral N may change soil bacterial community and their activity in the soil. Organic amendments with different C/N ratios were combined or not with N fertilization as follows: i) unamended soil (control), ii) grass clover silage (GC; low C/N ratio), and iii) wheat straw (WS; high C/N ratio). The organic amendments modulated the bacterial community assemblage and increased microbial activity. WS amendment had the strongest effects on hot water extractable carbon, microbial biomass N and soil respiration, which were linked with changes in bacterial community composition compared with GC-amended and unamended soil. By contrast, N transformation processes in the soil were more pronounced in GC-amended and unamended soil than in WS-amended soil. These responses were stronger in the presence of mineral N input. WS amendment induced greater N immobilization in the soil, even with mineral N input, impairing crop development. Interestingly, N input in unamended soil altered the co-dependence between the soil and the bacterial community to favor a new co-dependence among the soil, plant and microbial activity. In GC-amended soil, N fertilization shifted the dependence of the crop plant from the bacterial community to soil characteristics. Finally, the combined N input with WS amendment (organic carbon input) placed microbial activity at the center of the interrelationships between the bacterial community, plant, and soil. This emphasizes the crucial importance of microorganisms in the functioning of agroecosystems. To achieve higher yields in crops managed with various organic amendments, it is essential to incorporate mineral N management practices. This becomes particularly crucial when the soil amendments have a high C/N ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Article number164347
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2023


  • Crop residues
  • Immobilization
  • Microbial activity
  • Mineralization
  • N cycle
  • Nitrogen fertilizer
  • Soil bacterial community
  • Soil factors


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