Link to home

Soil fungal diversity during a soybean-cover crop rotation using community sequencing

Margarita Marroquin-Guzman: University of Nebraska

<div>Cover crops represent an important rotational benefit to field crop production systems. In the Midwest, over-wintering cover crops such as oats (<em>Avena sativa </em>L.) and rye (<em>Secale cereale </em>L.) are known to improve disease management, soil properties, and provide an economic benefit from forage production. However, how cover crops impact soil microbial communities and whether longer periods of cover crop provide greater benefit is understudied. In soil ecosystems, fungi play pivotal roles in nutrient cycling, carbon turnover, and soil formation. Moreover, some fungi are known to decompose plant residues, stimulate plant growth and cause plant diseases. Here, our aim is to characterize soil fungal community diversity in a soybean- oat/rye system in three experimental trials in Nebraska. A fallow control treatment was utilized at each location and cover crops consisted of a 50:50 mixture of oats and cereal rye. The soil was sampled at planting and at harvest. Bulk DNA was purified and the ITS region sequenced using the Illumina Mi-Seq platform. A community sequencing approach will be used to analyze and compare fungal diversity within and across locations. Results will contribute to understanding how cover crops impact fungal communities in Nebraskan soils and identify fungi that may be potential indicators of disease incidence and yields.</div>