REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0230.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: intercropping; nitrogen transfer; microbial community structure; microbial activity; DNA-SIP; high-throughput sequencing; metagenomes
Online: 15 July 2022 (09:38:10 CEST)
Intercropping systems can flexibly use resources such as sunlight, heat, water, and nutrients in time and space, improve crop yield and land utilization rates, effectively reduce continuous cropping obstacles and the occurrence of diseases and insect pests, and control the growth of weeds. Thus, intercropping is a safe and efficient ecological planting mode. The legume–cereal intercropping system is the most common planting combination. Legume crops fix nitrogen from the atmosphere through their symbiotic nitrogen fixation abilities, and the fixed nitrogen can be transferred to and utilized by cereal crops in various ways. The symbiotic nitrogen fixation efficiency of legume crops was improved by reducing the inhibition of soil nitrogen on nitrogenase activity through competitive absorption of soil nitrogen. However, the effects of nitrogen transformation and distribution in intercropping systems, and microbial community structure characteristics on nitrogen transfer need to be further explored. In this review, ⅰ) we present the transformation and distribution of nitrogen in the legume–cereal intercropping system; ⅱ) we describe the soil microbial community characteristics in intercropping systems; and ⅲ) we discuss the advantages of using modern biological molecular techniques to study soil microorganisms. We conclude that intercropping can increase the diversity of soil microorganisms, and the interaction between different plants has an important impact on the diversity and composition of the bacterial and fungal communities. The extensive application of modern biological molecular techniques in soil microbial research and the great contribution of intercropping systems to sustainable agriculture are particularly emphasized in this review.