Data_Sheet_2_Crop Rotation and Straw Application Impact Microbial Communities in Italian and Philippine Soils and the Rhizosphere of Zea mays.xlsx

Rice is one of the most important nourishments and its cultivation binds large agricultural areas in the world. Its cultivation leads to huge water consumption and high methane emissions. To diminish these problems, crop rotation between paddy rice and maize is introduced in Asia, but can lead to losses of carbon and water by the formation of desiccation cracks. To counteract these problems rice straw can be applied. We analyzed soil microbial responses to different crop rotation systems [rice–rice (RR), maize–maize (MM), maize–rice (MR)] and to rice straw application in the soil and rhizosphere of maize. Zea mays was grown in microcosms using soils from different field locations, each including different crop rotation regimes. The bacterial and fungal community composition was analyzed by 16S rRNA gene and ITS based amplicon sequencing in the bulk soil and rhizosphere. The microbiota was clearly different in soils from the different field locations (analysis of similarity, ANOSIM: R = 0.516 for the bacterial community; R = 0.817 for the fungal community). Within the field locations, crop rotation contributed differently to the variation in microbial community composition. Strong differences were observed in communities inhabiting soils under monosuccession (RR vs. MM) (ANOSIM: R = 0.923 for the bacterial and R = 0.714 for the fungal community), while the communities in soils undergoing MR crop rotation were more similar to those of the corresponding RR soils (ANOSIM: R = 0.111–0.175). The observed differences could be explained by altered oxygen availabilities in RR and MR soils, resulting in an enrichment of anaerobic bacteria in the soils, and the presence of the different crops, leading to the enrichment of host-plant specific microbial communities. The responses of the microbial communities to the application of rice straw in the microcosms were rather weak compared to the other factors. The taxa responding in bulk soil and rhizosphere were mostly distinct. In conclusion, this study revealed that the different agricultural management practices affect microbial community composition to different extent, not only in the bulk soil but also in the rhizosphere, and that the microbial responses in bulk soil and rhizosphere are distinct.