Long-term warming and elevated CO2 increase ammonia-oxidizing microbial communities and accelerate nitrification in paddy soil

Soil nitrification is a crucial process that increases nitrogen (N) availability for plants and drives nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions and nitrate (NO3) leaching. Ongoing climate warming and elevated CO2 in the atmosphere may affect nitrification in opposite directions. However, their interactions are not known, especially in the long-term and in flooded conditions common in paddy soils. We conducted a long-term (9 years) field experiment with simultaneous manipulation of temperature (+2 °C above ambient) and CO2 (+60–100 ppm above ambient) to evaluate the impacts of warming and CO2 enrichment on the community structure, diversity, and population size of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and bacteria (AOB), soil nitrification and physico-chemical characteristics. Elevated CO2 increased soil organic carbon (SOC) content (18%), microbial biomass N (65%), and carbon (27%). These changes accompanied an increment in AOB functional-gene abundance (181%) and soil nitrification rate (96%). Elevated temperature also increased (58%) soil nitrification rate. The combination of warming and CO2 enrichment enhanced AOB gene abundance (232%) and nitrification rate (133%). Impacts of these climate change factors on nitrification strongly depended on AOB gene abundance and microbial biomass, but not on AOA abundance. Higher root C inputs by rhizodeposition and pH under these climate change factors explained the substantial increases in AOB gene abundance, as nutrient-rich and alkaline soils favor AOB growth. By contrast, the AOA community was less sensitive to these climate change factors. Community composition, diversity, and richness of nitrifiers were remarkably resilient in response to individual and interactive impacts of warming and elevated CO2. Consequently, climate change will increase AOB population size but without community restructuring and will increase nitrification in paddy soils, which enhances N availability with consequences for crop productivity, N2O emissions, and NO3 leaching.

Waqas M.A.1 , Li Y. 1, 2 , Wang B. 1 , Sardar M.F.1 , Ma P.1 , Li R.1 , Wan Y.1, 2 , Ashraf M.N.3 , Ahmed W.4 , Kuzyakov Y. 5, 6, 7
Elsevier B.V.
  • 1 Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture|Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  • 2 Laboratory for Agricultural Environment|Ministry of Agriculture and Urban Affairs
  • 3 Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning|Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  • 4 Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory for Radionuclides Pollution Control and Resources|School of Environmental Science and Engineering|Guangzhou University
  • 5 Department of Soil Science of Temperate Ecosystems|Department of Agricultural Soil Science|Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
  • 6 Agro-Technological Institute|RUDN University
  • 7 Institute of Environmental Sciences|Kazan Federal University
Ammonia-oxidizing archaea and bacteria; Elevated CO<inf>2</inf> concentration; elevated temperature; paddy soil; soil nitrification
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