Biodiv Sci ›› 2008, Vol. 16 ›› Issue (2): 166-174.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2008.07093

• Original article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of mulching and intercropping on the functional diversity of soil microbial communities in tea plantations

Huaqin Xu1,2, Runlin Xiao1,*(), Tongqing Song1, Wen Luo2, Quan Ren2, Yao Huang1   

  1. 1 Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha 410125
    2 Agricultural College, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha 410128
  • Received:2007-05-26 Accepted:2007-09-19 Online:2008-03-20 Published:2008-02-20
  • Contact: Runlin Xiao


Soil management techniques such as mulching and intercropping have important effects on soil quality, and soil microbes are sensitive indicators of soil quality. We investigated the effects of fertilizer treatments on the functional diversity of soil microbial communities in tea plantations using the Biolog technique. Six treatments were designed, and the change rates of AWCD (average well color development, slope) ranked as follows: caky fertilizer + intercropping with white clover>NPK fertilizer + straw mulching>caky fertilizer+PK fertilizer+straw mulching>caky fertilizer+PK fertilizer+tillage>NPK fertilizer+intercropping with white clover>NPK fertilizer+tillage, indicating that intercropping and organic matter (caky) fertilizer improved the abundance and diversity of soil microbes to a certain extent. Biodiversity indices showed that neither straw mulching nor intercropping with white clover influenced microorganism species composition, but decreased the evenness of microbial communities. Our results also showed that both carbohydrate and carboxylic acid played important roles in the differentiation of carbon sources.

Key words: hilly tea plantations, Biolog, soil microbial community, functional diversity