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The diversity of soil microbial communities matters when legumes face drought

Abstract : The cultivation of legumes shows promise for the development of sustainable agriculture, but yield instability remains one of the main obstacles for its adoption. Here, we tested whether the yield stability (i.e., resistance and resilience) of pea plants subjected to drought could be enhanced by soil microbial diversity. We used a dilution approach to manipulate the microbial diversity, with a genotype approach to distinguish the effect of symbionts from that of microbial diversity as a whole. We investigated the physiology of plants in response to drought when grown on a soil containing high or low level of microbial diversity. Plants grown under high microbial diversity displayed higher productivity and greater resilience after drought. Yield losses were mitigated by 15% on average in the presence of high soil microbial diversity at sowing. Our study provides proof of concept that the soil microbial community as a whole plays a key role for yield stability after drought even in plant species living in relationships with microbial symbionts. These results emphasize the need to restore soil biodiversity for sustainable crop management and climate change adaptation.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03130275
Contributor : Noureddine El Mjiyad <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 2:40:51 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 4, 2021 - 3:24:09 PM

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Marion Prudent, Samuel Dequiedt, Camille Sorin, Sylvie Girodet, Virginie Nowak, et al.. The diversity of soil microbial communities matters when legumes face drought. Plant, Cell and Environment, Wiley, 2020, 43 (4), pp.1023-1035. ⟨10.1111/pce.13712⟩. ⟨hal-03130275⟩

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