Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2018, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (12): 1200-1210.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2018.0120

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of fine root decomposition on bacterial community structure of four dominated tree species in Mount Taishan, China

LU Ying,LI Kun,NI Rui-Qiang,LIANG Qiang,LI Chuan-Rong,ZHANG Cai-Hong()   

  1. Taishan Forest Ecosystem Research Station of the State Forestry Administration, Tai’an, Shandong 271018, China; and Key Labora-tory of State Forestry Administration for Silviculture of the Lower Yellow River, Tai’an, Shandong 271018, China
  • Received:2018-02-21 Revised:2018-10-31 Online:2019-04-04 Published:2018-12-20
  • Contact: Cai-Hong ZHANG
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(31500362);Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(31570705);the Joint Special Project of Shandong Province(ZR2014CL005);the Funds of Shandong “Double Tops” Program(SYL2017XTTD03)


Aims Microorganisms play a crucial role in the litter decomposition process in terrestrial ecosystems. Understanding the independent and interactive relationship between fine root decomposition and bacteria community related to substrate characteristics can help to predict the consequences of changes on ecosystem function. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify fine roots’ influences on rhizosphere microbial structure and diversity.

Methods The decomposition of root litters of four dominant tree species of Mount Taishan (Robinia pseudoacacia(RP), Quercus acutissima(QA), Pinus tabulaeformis(PT) and Pinus densiflora(PD)) was tested in a Yaoxiang Forest Farm. Using Illumina high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes, bacterial community composition was determined. Composition, diversity and relative abundance of bacteria were calculated for per fine root litter.

Important findings (1) Fine root litter decomposition differed significantly among different root types. There was no difference in decomposition rate between broad-leaved species and conifer species. In all species, fine roots of RP and QA were more strongly decomposed than that of PT and PD, and these differences were significant (RP > QA > PT > PD). (2) The number of observed species, operational taxonomic units, Ace index and phylogenetic diversity in broad-leaved species were significantly lower than that in coniferous species. Bacterial community structure differed significantly among four species for root decomposition. Initial carbon (C), lignin:nitrogen (N) and C:N in fine root had a great influence on the bacterial community structure. (3) At the phylum level, a total of 4 phyla were dominant (>5% across all species). Based on the average relative abundance, the most abundant phyla were Proteobacteria, Actinomyces, Bacteroidetes and Acidobacteria. Proteobacteria’s and Acidbacteria’s abundance were significantly different among the four species. Particularly, the Proteobacteria of broad-leaved species was significantly higher than that of coniferous species. At the class level, a wide range of classes dominated. Based on the average relative abundance, the most abundance classes were Alphaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, unidentified-Actinobacteria and Sphingobacteriia. Alphaproteobacteria and unidentified-Actinobacteria had significant differences among the four species. (4) Pearson correlation analysis showed that the relative abundance of dominant phylum and class was affected by the initial properties of root litter, especially the Proteobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria. In addition, there was a significant positive correlation between fine root decomposition rate and relative abundance of Proteobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria. Redundancy analysis (RDA) also demonstrated that the initial properties of fine root litter (initial N, P, C:N) had significant effects on the structures of bacterial community. These results can improve understanding the links between fine root litter decomposition and functional microbial communities.

Key words: decomposition, fine root, bacterial community, diversity

Table 1

Differences in initial element contents of fine root litter (mean ± SE, n = 3)"

树种 Species C (%) N (%) P (%) C:N N:P 木质素 Lignin (%)
RP 48.77 ± 0.33c 3.36 ± 0.002a 0.53 ± 0.05a 14.51 ± 0.09d 6.36 ± 0.34a 29.59 ± 0.47c
QA 46.39 ± 0.17d 1.08 ± 0.008b 0.46 ± 0.01a 43.02 ± 0.17c 2.34 ± 0.05b 33.78 ± 0.60b
PD 54.65 ± 0.17a 0.38 ± 0.009d 0.39 ± 0.03b 142.48 ± 3.72a 1.00 ± 0.07c 38.34 ± 0.30a
PT 49.96 ± 0.13b 0.85 ± 0.004c 0.41 ± 0.03b 59.04 ± 0.19b 2.10 ± 0.14b 37.78 ± 0.15a

Fig. 1

Difference in decomposition rate among four litter species (mean ± SE) in Mount Taishan. PD, Pinus densiflora; PT, Pinus tabulaeformis; QA, Quercus acutissima; RP, Robinia pseudoacacia. Different lowercase letters represent significant differences among different species (p < 0.05)."

Table 2

Statistical analysis of bacterial diversity in Mount Taishan after one year of fine root decomposition (mean ± SE, n = 3)"

物种数 NO. of
observed species
覆盖率Coverage (%) Chao1指数
Chao1 index
Ace index
系统发育多样性Phylogenetic diversity Shannon-Wiener指数Shannon-Wiener index
RP 2 149 ± 71a 98.6 ± 0.1b 3 088.0 ± 140.4ab 3 062.2 ± 143.5ab 159.2 ± 4.2a 8.38 ± 0.59a
QA 1 970 ± 120a 97.7 ± 0.2a 2 824.2 ± 88.5a 2 843.8 ± 62.0a 147.8 ± 7.6a 8.14 ± 0.16a
PD 2 759 ± 25b 98.3 ± 0.2ab 3 544.7 ± 50.3c 3 530.6 ± 34.3c 198.6 ± 5.1b 8.81 ± 0.35b
PT 2 568 ± 39b 97.6 ± 0.2a 3 395.0 ± 2.2bc 3 341.9 ± 68.4bc 193.1 ± 3.2b 8.88 ± 0.18b

Table 3

Correlation analysis between bacterial α diversity and the initial properties of litter after one year of decomposition"

C (%) N (%) P (%) C:N N:P 木质素 Lignin (%)
物种数 NO. Of observed species 0.884** -0.541 0.679* 0.790* -0.496 0.726*
覆盖率 Coverage (%) 0.331 0.437 -0.482 0.126 0.517 -0.344
Chao1指数 Chao1 index 0.858** -0.413 0.608 0.706* -0.377 0.642
Ace指数 Ace index 0.874** -0.446 0.593 0.748* -0.405 0.661*
系统发育多样性 Phylogenetic diversity 0.829* -0.547 0.744* 0.730* -0.515 0.749*
Shannon-Wiener指数 Shannon-Wiener index 0.552 -0.292 0.491 0.378 -0.246 0.418

Fig. 2

Nonmetric Multidimensional Scaling (NMDS) ordination diagram of bacterial community structure in root litter after one year of decomposition in Mount Taishan. PD, Pinus densiflora; PT, Pinus tabulaeformis; QA, Quercus acutissima; RP, Robinia pseudoacacia."

Fig. 3

Redundancy analysis (RDA) based on bacterial community structure and the initial properties of fine root litter. PD, Pinus densiflora; PT, Pinus tabulaeformis; QA, Quercus acutissima; RP, Robinia pseudoacacia."

Fig. 4

Differences in relative abundances of major bacterial dominant groups among the four species in Mount Taishan(mean ± SE). A, Dominant classes. B, Dominant phyla. PD, Pinus densiflora; PT, Pinus tabulaeformis; QA, Quercus acutissima; RP, Robinia pseudoacacia. Different lowercase letters indicate the significant differences in different species of the same bacterial group, while the same letter indicates no significant difference."

Table 4

Correlation analysis among the bacterial dominant phylum , the decomposition rate of fine roots , and the initial properties of litter"

优势门 Dominant phylum C (%) N (%) P (%) 木质素
Lignin (%)
C:N N:P 分解速率
Decomposition rate
变形菌门 Proteobacteria -0.64 0.57 0.77* -0.63 -0.69* 0.52 0.71*
放线菌门 Actinobacteria 0.61 -0.32 -0.69* 0.48 0.50 -0.25 -0.62
拟杆菌门 Bacteroidetes 0.60 0.09 0.09 0.09 0.43 0.03 -0.36
酸杆菌门 Acidobacteria -0.46 -0.48 -0.57 0.35 -0.16 -0.42 0.03
分解速率 Decomposition rate -0.76** 0.74** 0.67* -0.90** -0.82** 0.74** 1.00

Table 5

Correlation analysis among the decomposition rate of fine roots and bacterial dominant class and the initial properties of litter"

优势纲 Dominant class C (%) N (%) P (%) 木质素
Lignin (%)
C:N N:P 分解速率
Decomposition rate
α-变形菌纲 Alphaproteobacteria -0.33 0.79** 0.56 -0.71* -0.73* 0.84** 0.63*
β-变形菌纲 Betaproteobacteria -0.42 -0.18 0.09 -0.00 -0.11 -0.21 0.19
γ-变形菌纲 Gammaproteobacteria -0.08 0.49 0.47 -0.37 -0.25 0.43 0.24
不明放线菌纲unidentified-Actinobacteria 0.84** -0.25 -0.53 0.37 0.73* -0.25 -0.61
鞘脂杆菌纲 Sphingobacteriia 0.20 0.40 0.49 -0.23 -0.00 0.30 0.05

Fig. 5

Redundancy analysis (RDA) based on dominant bacterial phylum and the initial properties of fine root litter. PD, Pinus densiflora; PT, Pinus tabulaeformis; QA, Quercus acutissima; RP, Robinia pseudoacacia."

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