Mitigation of nitrous oxide emissions from acidic soils by Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, a plant growth-promoting bacterium

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Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a long-lived greenhouse gas that can result in the alteration of atmospheric chemistry and cause accompanying changes in global climate. To date, many techniques have been used to mitigate the emissions of N2O from agricultural fields, which represent one of the most important sources of N2O. In this study, we designed a greenhouse pot experiment and a microcosmic serum bottle incubation experiment using acidic soil from a vegetable farm to study the effects of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens (BA) on plant growth and N2O emission rates. The addition of BA to the soil promoted plant growth enhanced the soil pH and increased the total nitrogen (TN) contents in the plants. At the same time, it decreased the concentrations of ammonium (NH4+), nitrate (NO3−) and TN in the soil. Overall, the addition of BA resulted in a 50% net reduction of N2O emissions compared with the control. Based on quantitative PCR and the network analysis of DNA sequencing, it was demonstrated that BA partially inhibited the nitrification process through the significant reduction of ammonia oxidizing bacteria. Meanwhile, it enhanced the denitrification process, mainly by increasing the abundance of N2O-reducing bacteria in the treatment with BA. The results of our microcosm experiment provided evidence that strongly supported the above findings under more strictly controlled laboratory conditions. Taken together, the results of our study evidently demonstrated that BA has dual effects on the promotion of plant growth and the dramatic reduction of greenhouse emissions, thus suggesting the possibility of screening beneficial microbial organisms from the environment that can promote plant growth and mitigate greenhouse trace gases.

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