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Bacterial endophytes mediate positive feedback effects of early legume termination times on the yield of subsequent durum wheat crops

Yang, C., Hamel, C., Gan, Y., Vujanovic, V. (2012). Bacterial endophytes mediate positive feedback effects of early legume termination times on the yield of subsequent durum wheat crops, 58(12), 1368-1377. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/w2012-114

Abstract

Field crops influence the biotic properties of the soil, impacting the health and productivity of subsequent crops. Polymerase chain reaction and 454 GS FLX pyrosequencing of amplicons were used to clarify the legacy of chickpea and pea crops on the quality of the bacterial community colonizing the root endosphere of subsequent crops of wheat, in a replicated field study. Similar communities of root endosphere bacteria were formed in durum wheat grown after pea and chickpea crops when chickpea crops were terminated as early as pea (July). Termination of the chickpea crops in September led to the domination of Firmicutes in wheat root endosphere; Actinobacteria dominated the wheat root endosphere following early pulse crop termination. The architecture of wheat plants was correlated with the composition of its root endosphere community. High grain yield was associated with the production of fewer but larger wheat heads, the abundance of endospheric Actinobacteria and Acidobacteria, and the scarcity of endospheric Firmicutes. Pulse termination time affected wheat root endosphere colonization strongly in 2009 but weakly in 2010, an abnormally wet year. This study improved our understanding of the so-called "crop rotation effect" in pulse-wheat systems and showed how this system can be manipulated through agronomic decisions.

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