Soil microbial community based on plfa profiles in an age sequence of pomegranate plantation in the middle yellow river floodplain

Shilin Wang, Xinyu Yan, Dong Wang, Imran Ahammad Siddique, Ji Chen, Qi Xu, Cancan Zhao, Leyun Yang, Yuan Miao*, Shijie Han

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) is one of the most important fruit trees in semi-arid land. Previous studies were primarily focused on soil microbial community composition under different pomegranate plantation managements. However, soil microbial community composition under long-term pomegranate plantation has rarely been studied. We investigated pomegranate plantation along with an age sequence (i.e., 1, 3, 5, and 10 years after pomegranate plantation; abbreviated by P1, P3, P5, P10, respectively) in the Middle Yellow River floodplain. Our objectives were to address (1) variations of soil physicochemical properties and (2) changes in soil microbial community composition and the influential factors. The results demonstrated that the soil water content of pomegranate plantation decreased with the increase of pomegranate plantation stand age. Specifically, dissolved organic carbon, ammonium, and available phosphorus increased significantly with stand age both at 0–10-and 10–20-cm soil depths. The P10 had the highest microbial phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profiles, including fungi, bacteria, Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria, and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. The ratio of fungal PLFAs to bacterial PLFAs increased and the ratio of Gram-positive to Gram-negative bacterial PLFAs decreased along the pomegranate plantation stand age. Dissolved organic carbon was the most important influential factor among the studied variables, which explained 42.2% variation of soil microbial community. In summary, the long-term plantation of pomegranate elevated soil microbial biomass and altered microbial community composition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number408
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Available phosphorus
  • Bacteria
  • Dissolved organic carbon
  • Fungi
  • Plant stand age
  • Pomegranate plantation
  • Yellow River


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