Plant and soil responses to tillage practices change arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi populations during crop growth

Jing Li, Lijuan Jia, Paul C. Struik, Zhengfeng An, Zhen Wang*, Zhuwen Xu, Lei Ji, Yuqing Yao, Junjie Lv, Tao Zhou, Ke Jin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Tillage practices can substantially affect soil properties depending on crop stage. The interaction between tillage and crop growth on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) communities remains unclear. We investigated the interactions between four tillage treatments (CT: conventional tillage, RT: reduced tillage, NT: no tillage with mulch, and SS: subsoiling with mulch), maintained for 25 years, and two wheat growth stages (elongation stage and grain filling stage) on AMF diversity and community composition. Results: The AMF community composition strongly changed during wheat growth, mainly because of changes in the relative abundance of dominant genera Claroideoglomus, Funneliformi, Rhizophagu, Entrophospora, and Glomus. Co-occurrence network analysis revealed that the grain filling stage had a more complex network than the elongation stage. Redundancy analysis results showed that keystone genera respond mainly to changes in soil organic carbon during elongation stage, whereas the total nitrogen content affected the keystone genera during grain filling. Compared with CT, the treatments with mulch, i.e., NT and SS, significantly changed the AMF community composition. The change of AMF communities under different tillage practices depended on wheat biomass and soil nutrients. NT significantly increased the relative abundances of Glomus and Septoglomus, while RT significantly increased the relative abundance of Claroideoglomus. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that the relative abundance of dominant genera changed during wheat growth stages. Proper tillage practices (e.g., NT and SS) benefit the long-term sustainable development of the Loess Plateau cropping systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1394104
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2024


  • arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • co-occurrence
  • Loess Plateau
  • tillage practices
  • wheat growth stages


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