Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Physical and microbiological properties of alfalfa-established soil in the semiarid Horqin Sandy Land in northern China


Yumei Kang, Tatsuya Kawazawa, Taisei Kono, Jun Kawamoto, Yong Zhang

Recieved Date: 2022-10-04, Accepted Date: 2022-12-28


Horqin Sandy Land located in Inner Mongolia, China, was once a sparse forest meadow. However, it has changed into a desert during the last decades  due to rapid population growth, cultivated land reclamation and overgrazing. In a previous article, we reported that a local variety of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L. cv. Aohan) had high potential to be a pioneer plant for ecological restoration in this area. The plantation of Aohan significantly improved the organic matter, clay, total carbon and nitrogen contents of the soils. In this study, we investigated the physical properties such as dispersion ratio, water-stable aggregates content, and the soil microbiomes, five years after alfalfa establishment in the same study site. We found no significant difference in the dispersion ratios between the soils before and after alfalfa establishment, and all the soils at the study site were erosive. Water stable aggregates mainly distributed in <1 mm fractions, which accounted for >96%, suggesting that it would take longer time for improving soil structure. However, large-size aggregates (2-5 mm) content was slightly higher in the alfalfa planting plots. This slight increase is presumed to have long-term importance for soil and ecosystem recovery in semi-arid areas like Horqin Sandy Land. Moreover, we also found that Actinomycetes dominated the microbial community in both bulk and rhizosphere soils, and two kinds of rhizobia, Bradyrhizobium and Sinorhizobium fredii, were identified in the rhizosphere soil. Bradyrhizobiaceae and Sinorhizobium fredii may play an important role in supplying nitrogen to alfalfa and soil in Horqin Sandy Land.


Dispersion ratio, water-stable aggregate, rhizosphere, microbiome, rhizobia

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2023
Volume: 21
Issue: 1
Category: Environment
Pages: 67-71

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