Soil microbial activity is an important factor driving the material cycle and nutrient conversion of the soil ecosystem. The sustainability of soil ecosystem service functions depends on the stability of the soil microbiome . Therefore, the stability of soil microbial communities will affect the sustainable use of soil resources. In recent years, the threat of soil microbial diversity loss to ecosystems has attracted wide attention in the world, and the related research on microbial diversity and the stability of ecosystem functions has become a hot spot.
Recently, the top journal in the field of microbiology”Microbiome” (IF=12.16) published online the latest update of the agricultural microbial resource team on the specific function of soil microorganisms determining community stability Research results (Specialized metabolic functions of keystone taxa sustain soil microbiome stability). The traditional community stability evaluation is mainly based on two indicators of resistance (Resistance) and resilience (Resilience). Based on the current situation that soil microbial community research mainly uses high-throughput sequencing and generates a large amount of data, it is innovatively proposed and verified A new Average Variation Degree (AVD) for evaluating the stability of the microbial community, which exponentializes the stability of the community. This model has the advantage of not being limited by the number of samples in the group. The study found that with the decline of soil microbial diversity, the average community variability index increased and the stability decreased. Constructing a random forest machine learning model to analyze the functional gene composition of the microbial community, and found that the functional genes related to soil”nitrogen metabolism” and”phosphorus metabolism” are the most critical functions that determine the stability of the community; at the same time, constructing a functional gene co-occurrence network to discover these Key functional genes are also members of the key hubs of the network. These hub functional genes decrease with the decline of microbial diversity, resulting in a decrease in the modularity and stability of the co-occurring network. Further species annotations of the”nitrogen and phosphorus metabolism” functional genes found that the relative abundance of all bacterial groups decreased with the decrease of microbial diversity, among which Nitrospira (nitrogen metabolism) and Blastomonas (phosphorus metabolism) The representative taxa may be the core members to maintain the stability of the soil microbial community. The study puts forward the special ecological functions of soil microbes’ nitrogen and phosphorus metabolism and the important role of related bacterial groups in maintaining the stability of microbial communities, which has important guiding significance for deciphering the relationship between soil microbial diversity and system ecological functions. In the future, regulating the soil microbiome to promote the stable performance of soil ecological functions provides theoretical guidance.
The research was independently completed by Chinese researchers. Associate Professor Xun Weibing of Nanjing Agricultural University and Associate Researcher Liu Yunpeng of the Agricultural Microbiology Resource Team are the co-first authors of the paper, and Researcher Zhang Ruifu Corresponding author of the paper. The research was also funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and the Young Talents Support Project of the Chinese Association for Science and Technology.
Researcher Zhang Ruifu has carried out a series of research work in recent years on farmland soil microbial diversity and rhizosphere microbial community structure and functional assembly. The research results clarify the soil microbiome The main driving factors of structure and function (Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 2015 & 2016; Environmental Microbiology, 2016; Microbiome, 2018) reveal a new mechanism by which the specific function of the microbiome determines the process of community assembly (Nature Communications, 2019), proposed a functional compensation mechanism for the structural assembly of the crop rhizosphere microbiome (Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 2020).
link to the paper:https://doi.org/10.1186/s40168-020-00985-9